The concept of green corridor and sustainable development in Costa Rica, Beauvais & Matagne 1999

Compendium Volume 4 Number 2 January 2021

The concept of sustainable development presumes that human economic systems and overall wellbeing depend on functioning ecosystems. Therefore, ecological rhythms should not be transgressed to the point that they fail to provide the vital services needed today and in future generations.

According to this model, economic development becomes a necessary but insufficient condition for society to progress [Beauvais & Matagne 1999: 6, translated].

Costa Rica holds at least 5% of the world’s species, in spite of making up 0.03% of its land surface. As an isthmus, Costa Rica is influenced by weather patterns from two oceans, as well as a north-south migration route. In addition to this, its mountainous terrain creates a heterogenous mosaic of habitats and niches. However, the country has been severely deforested. Forest covered 66% of land surface in 1940, and only 25% by 1987; the loss of forest led to extreme erosion.

As presented in this article, an ecological corridor consists of at least two protected ecosystem patches that are connected by a protected vegetated strip of at least a few kilometers in width, and the whole area surrounded by a buffer zone. Multiple units of two connected patches could in turn be connected, stretching into a corridor that the whole length of the country. A green Costa Rican corridor could connect to green corridors in adjacent countries, ultimately recreating the entire isthmic corridor that once existed.

However, the tone of this article is not optimistic about conservation, citing several political obstacles to conservation and ecosystem restoration. According to the authors, a combination of neocolonialist pressure, poverty, corruption, and capitalistic interests allow for trees to be cut even in protected areas and prevent the establishment of new protected areas and corridors.

Beauvais, Jean-François & Patrick Matagne, 1999, The concept of green corridor and sustainable development in Costa Rica, Annales de Géographie 108(605),

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