Sustainable Forest Management and Global Climate Change
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Sustainable Forest Management and Global Climate Change

Selected Case Studies from the Americas

Edited by Mohammed H.I. Dore and Rubén Guevara

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change recognises that, in the formulation of a global strategy for reducing global emissions of carbon (the main factor in global warming) forests could play an important role. This book highlights that role and demonstrates how the forests of the world may be harvested judiciously and sustainably. The authors argue that the forests are more than just a source of timber and wood; they discuss the role that forests play in reducing global warming, in preventing soil erosion and in helping to minimise the loss of biodiversity. Drawing on the expertise of contributors associated with the analysis of forests, this book is an in depth and fascinating discussion as well as a policy guide for the sustainable management of forests.
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Chapter 9: Forest policy in Costa Rica

Olman Segura-Bonilla


1 Olman Segura-Bonilla INTRODUCTION In Costa Rica, as in other Central American countries, the forest has been irrationally exploited and, if the current style of management is not changed, the maintenance and recuperation of forest cover will be increasingly difficult. According to several studies, as we will see below, it would be ideal if, in the future, Costa Rica could maintain and even expand its natural systems by means of policies that are clearly understood. In order to reach this goal, profound institutional and economic changes must be made in the society. The institutional changes refer to customs, routines, behaviour patterns and the way resources are used. The economic changes correspond to the creation of new systems of incentives and alliances for the forest sector as well as for the activities that have traditionally competed with the forest. The process of economic development establishes a legal and institutional environment which directs and influences land use, including forests.2 Several authors (such as Pasos, 1994; Segura, 1996) have pointed out that in Costa Rica the predominant search for economic growth, and particularly the increase in the export of farm products, has generated a pattern of agricultural development characterized by a strong dependence on energy input and on land which is not suitable for farming. Agricultural expansion into forest land and the use of inadequate production practices usually has caused the overexploitation of this type of land. Forest land was not valued adequately and the value of forest resources was reduced...

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