Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Rainforest Action Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park

WLT is no longer fundraising for projects in Costa Rica.

Rainforest Action Costa Rica (RACR) was the second project of the World Land Trust, and focused on the rainforests of Costa Rica, and in particular the Osa Peninsula - one of the top twenty areas of greatest biodiversity on earth.

Project aim

The aim of Rainforest Action Costa Rica was to purchase areas of forest for conservation. TUVA also aimed to work with local farmers to establish sustainable incomes which would not be detrimental to the surrounding forest.

Project partner:

Fundación Tierras Unidas Vecinales por el Ambiente, (TUVA) »

How the WLT is helping

The Trust helped purchase 5,000 acres (2,020 ha) in the Esquinas Sector, which is now incorporated into Corcovado National Park. But while land purchase for immediate protection was a priority, this was only one part of the total conservation effort. The needs of the local people were taken into account at all times, and conservation by local landowners using mechanisms such as purchasing the conservation rights (easements) where land purchase was not an option, was used extensively. Additionally, RACR linked conservation with the needs of the local people by:

  • Providing employment and encouraging non-consumptive uses of the forests and its products;
  • Promoting understanding of the importance of, and an enthusiasm for, tropical forests;
  • Co-operating with Costa Rican National Parks System in the protection and management of identified zones;
  • Assisting in ecotourism assessments and ensuring that development did not result in loss of tropical forest;
  • Developing ecotourism for small groups, with a view to minimising impact on the forest and its wildlife.

Biodiversity of Corcovado National Park

The Cocovado National Park is situated on the Osa Peninsula, one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Species include:


Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Ocelot (Leopardis pardalis) and Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)


Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)

Learn more about animals in our reserves »

Threats to the Osa Peninsula

In the 1990s the main threats to the Osa Peninsula were illegal goldmining operations inside the Osa National park, and plantations of Gmelina for wood pulp, around the protected areas. In addition to the purchase of around 5000 acres of forest, the WLT was also able to fund a co-ordinator to head off some of the development threats.

The reserve

Cocovardo National Park

Total acres saved by WLT: 5000 acres (2088ha)
Land purchased with the support of the WLT has been incorporated into the Cocovardo National Park which is a total 14,826 acres (6,000ha). Sustainable practices such as vanilla growing and eco tourism now maintain an income for local communities that does not threaten the forest.

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