Area de Conservación Guanacaste

Area de Conservación Guanacaste

The Area de Conservación Guanacaste (inscribed in 1999), was extended with the addition of a 15,000 ha private property, St Elena. It contains important natural habitats for the conservation of biological diversity, including the best dry forest habitats from Central America to northern Mexico and key habitats for endangered or rare plant and animal species. The site demonstrates significant ecological processes in both its terrestrial and marine-coastal environments.

Zone de conservation de Guanacaste

La Zone de conservation de Guanacaste, inscrite en 1999, a été étendue pour inclure une aire de 15 000 ha, Sta Elena qui appartenait à un particulier. La zone comprend des habitats naturels importants pour la conservation de la diversité biologique, notamment les meilleurs habitats de forêt sèche de la zone allant de l’Amérique centrale au nord du Mexique, ainsi que des habitats clés pour des espèces animales et végétales rares ou menacées. Sur ce site se déroulent des processus écologiques importants tant dans les milieux terrestres que côtiers ou marins.

منطقة غواناكاست المحميّة

أُدرجت منطقة غواناكاست المحميّة عام 1999 على قائمة التراث العالمي وتوسّع نطاقها ليشمل سنتا إيلينا، وهي مساحة تمتد على 15000 هكتار وكانت ملكاً خاصاً. وتتضمّن المنطقة الموائل الطبيعيّة المهمّة لحماية التنوّع البيولوجي، خصوصاً أفضل موائل الغابة القاحلة في المنطقة الممتدة من أمريكا الوسطى إلى شمال المكسيك والموائل الأساسيّة لأصناف حيوانيّة ونباتيّة نادرة أو مهدّدة. وهذا الموقع هو موئل العمليّات البيئية المهمّة في الأوساط البريّة والساحليّة أو البحريّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

瓜纳卡斯特自然保护区

此保护区于1999年被列入世界遗产,现新增一块面积达15 000公顷的私人土地——圣艾雷那(St Elena)。这里有着保护生物多样性的重要自然栖息地,包括从中美洲蔓延到墨西哥北部的最佳旱地森林栖息地,以及一些濒危或珍稀动植物的主要栖息地。这个地方的陆地和海岸环境展示了重要的生态过程。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Охраняемая область Гуанакасте

Территория, характеризующаяся высоким биоразнобразием, включает участки сухих тропических лесов – ярких образцов экосистем данного типа на пространстве от Центральной Америки и до севера Мексики. Здесь сохраняются ключевые местообитания редких и исчезающих видов растений и животных. В наземных экосистемах, равно как и в прибрежной зоне, можно наблюдать протекание важных экологических процессов. Впервые занесенный в Список всемирного наследия в 1999 г., этот объект в 2004 г. был расширен за счет включения небольшого участка площадью 15 тыс. га в районе залива Санта-Елена.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Zona de conservación de Guanacaste

Inscrito en la Lista del Patrimonio Mundial en 1999, este sitio se amplió posteriormente, para abarcar la zona de Santa Elena, una zona suplementaria de 15.000 hectáreas perteneciente a un particular. El área de conservación posee hábitats naturales importantes para la preservación de la diversidad biológica. Entre ellos figuran los mejores hábitats de bosque seco de toda la región que se extiende desde Centroamérica al norte de México, así como otros que son esenciales para la conservación de especies animales y vegetales, raras o en peligro de extinción. En este sitio tienen lugar procesos ecológicos de gran importancia, tanto en el medio ambiente terrestre como en el costero y marino.

source: UNESCO/ERI

グアナカステ保全地域

source: NFUAJ

Beschermd gebied Guanacaste

Guanacaste ligt in het noordwesten van Costa Rica en strekt zich uit over 105 kilometer van de Stille Oceaan, langs laaggelegen kustgebieden en drie grote vulkanen. De meest opvallende vulkaan is Rincon de la Vieja, die drie kraters en een lagune heeft. In de omgeving van de vulkaan ontspringen minstens 32 rivieren en 16 onderbroken stromen die uitvloeien in de Tempisque. Deze rivier is van enorm belang voor de irrigatie van landbouwgrond in de provincie Guanacaste. Het mariene gebied omvat verschillende kusteilanden, open oceaan mariene zones, stranden, rotskusten, 37 wetlands en ongeveer 20 kilometer strand waar zeeschildpadden nesten.

Source: unesco.nl

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Aera de Conservación de Guanacaste © OUR PLACE
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Area de Conservación Guanacaste comprises 147,000 hectares of land and sea in the Northwest of Costa Rica. Encompassing several contiguous protected areas of various categories, the property is a mosaic of diverse ecosystems. The 104,000 hectares of land encompass a continuum of roughly 100 kilometres from the shore of the Pacific to the lowland rainforests in the Caribbean basin. Along the way, the gradient passes a varied coastline, the Pacific coastal lowlands and much of the western side of the Guanacaste Range peaking at Rincón de la Vieja at 1,916 m.a.s.l. The many forest types comprise a large tract of tropical dry forest, an often overlooked, highly vulnerable global conservation priority. Furthermore, there are extensive wetlands, numerous water courses, as well as oak forests and savannahs. The largely intact coastal-marine interface features estuaries, rocks, sandy and cobble beaches rimming the 43,000 hectares of marine area with its various, mostly uninhabited near-shore islands and islets. Major nutrient-rich cold upwelling currents offshore result in an exceptionally high productivity of this part of the Pacific.

The visually dramatic landscape mosaic is home to an extraordinary variety of life forms. Next to the approximately 7,000 plant species, more than 900 vertebrate species have been confirmed. Some notable mammals include the endangered Central American Tapir, at least 40 species of bat, numerous primate species and several felids, namely Jaguar, Margay, Jaguarundi and Ocelot. Among some 500 bird species are the endangered Mangrove Hummingbird and Great Green Macaw, as well as the vulnerable Military Macaw and Great Curassow. Diversity of reptiles and amphibians is likewise high with charismatic representatives like the vulnerable American Crocodile and Spectacled Caiman. Several species of sea turtles occur in the property, with a nesting population of the critically endangered Leatherback and a massive breeding population of the vulnerable Olive Ridley. Invertebrate diversity is extraordinary with an estimated 20,000 species of beetles, 13,000 species of ants, bees and wasps and 8,000 species of butterflies and moths.

Criterion (ix): A striking feature of Area de Conservación Guanacaste is the wealth of ecosystem and habitat diversity, all connected through an uninterrupted gradient from the Pacific Ocean across the highest peaks to the lowlands on the Caribbean side. Beyond the distinction into land and sea, the many landscape and forest types comprise mangroves, lowland rainforest, premontane and montane humid forest, cloud forest, as well as oak forests and savannahs with evergreen gallery forests along the many water courses. Along the extraordinary transect the property allows migration, genetic exchange and complex ecological processes and interactions at all levels of biodiversity, including between land and sea. The vast dry forest is a rare feature of enormous conservation value, as most dry forests elsewhere in the region are fragmented remnants only. Conservation has permitted the natural restoration of the previously degraded forest ecosystem, today serving again as a safe haven for the many species depending on this acutely threatened ecosystem. Major nutrient-rich cold upwelling currents offshore result in a high marine productivity and are the foundation of a diverse coastal-marine ecosystem containing important coral reefs, algal beds, estuaries, mangroves, sandy and cobble beaches, shore dunes and wetlands.

Criterion (x): The property is globally important for the conservation of tropical biological diversity as one of the finest examples of a continuous and well-protected altitudinal transect in the Neotropics along a series of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The enormous variation in environmental conditions favours a high diversity, with two thirds of all species described for Costa Rica occurring within the relatively compact area. Coexisting in the property, there are more than 7,000 species of plants, as diverse as Mahogany in the lush forests and several species of agaves and cacti in drier areas. Over 900 vertebrates have been confirmed. Some notable mammals include the endangered Central American Tapir, at least 40 species of bat, Jaguar, Margay, Jaguarundi and Ocelot, as well as numerous primate species. Among some 500 bird species are the endangered Mangrove Hummingbird and Great Green Macaw, and the vulnerable Military Macaw. Charismatic representatives of reptiles include the vulnerable American Crocodile and the Spectacled Caiman. Several species of sea turtles occur in the property, with the critically endangered Leatherback nesting and a massive breeding population of the vulnerable Olive Ridley. Invertebrate diversity is extraordinary with an estimated 20,000 species of beetles, 13,000 species of ants, bees and wasps and 8,000 species of butterflies and moths.

Integrity

The transect from the waters of the Pacific across more than 100 kilometres inland constitutes an impressive altitudinal and climatic range, making the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste an ideal place for the conservation of dynamic ecological and biological processes at the scale of a landscape. This is critical for the range, migration and life cycles of many animal species but also for plants and entire communities expected to respond to changing environmental conditions. The largely intact coastal-marine interface is remarkable, particularly in a region where coasts have disproportionally suffered from human pressure. The Pacific and the connected coastal ecosystems like mangroves, wetlands and estuaries mutually protect each other and the associated biological and ecological processes. The remoteness and the rocky, swampy terrain provide a high degree of natural protection of this interface. The ongoing natural regeneration of the large, previously exploited tropical dry forest ecosystem within the property is an indicator of intact processes, favoured by the size, conservation efforts and functioning interaction with neighbouring ecosystems. Adding to the integrity are several connected protected areas in the vicinity of the property, which help avoid genetic isolation, buffer disturbance and facilitate conservation and natural regeneration. Small peripheral areas are regularly bought and added to the protected area and lend themselves for future incorporation into the property.

Protection and Management Requirements

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste is a conservation complex comprised of contiguous protected areas which has expanded over time. The property continues to have potential for further extension, which is an explicit management objective. The formal conservation history goes back to 1971 when Santa Rosa National Park was created to conserve a stretch of land and sea of high conservation valuable. Over the years new national parks, a wildlife refuge and an Experimental Forest Station were established and added. Most of the property is state-owned, except for a corridor owned by the parastatal foundation Fundacion de Parques Nacionales. The administrative unit is headed by a Director and under the overall authority of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. Oversight and participation is foreseen through technical, local, as well as regional councils. The integrated management has the dual long-term objective of conservation and restoration. More specifically, management objectives include incorporation of adjacent areas of conservation interest, payment for environmental services schemes; ecological research and outreach programs. The property enjoys a diverse funding structure with both governmental and non-governmental sources. Entrance fees likewise contribute in addition to a heritage fund established through a debt-for-nature swap. Despite the diverse funding structure, additional and sustainable funding schemes are needed to enhance the operational management capacity in the face of mounting challenges.

After historic use by local indigenous groups, the remote and economically marginalised region was exploited for around four centuries in opportunistic form. Past human impacts include clearing of forests for pasture, logging and indiscriminate hunting. However, the poor soils, erratic climate and geographic isolation set natural limits to resource use and land conversion which is why no transformation beyond the natural restoration capacity appears to have occurred. On land, current threats stem from agriculture outside the property, namely pollution by pesticides, deviation of water for irrigation and introduced exotic grasses. Other possible developments outside the property requiring careful balancing between negative impacts and benefits include increasing tourism, road construction and hydropower. Fishing by local fishermen have shown a decrease in the size of fish and an increase in the effort required per catch, which constitutes a clear indication of declining populations. Stronger efforts in marine conservation are needed to respond to uncontrolled commercial and sport fishing but also to regulate tourism along the coast.

Long Description

Guanacaste is located in north-western Costa Rica. It stretches 105 km from the Pacific, across the Pacific coastal lowlands, over three tall volcanoes and down into the Atlantic coastal lowlands. It includes the Guanacaste Cordillera and surrounding flatlands and coastal areas. The most notable volcano is Rincon de la Vieja, which has three craters and one lagoon. Its last eruption was observed in the 1970s, but some fumarole activity still occurs in one of the craters. At the base of the volcano are several minor craters.

At least 32 rivers and 16 intermittent streams originate in the vicinity of the volcano, and flow into the Tempisque, a river of enormous importance for irrigation of agricultural land in the Guanacaste Province. The marine area includes various near shore islands and islets (mostly uninhabited), open ocean marine zones, beaches, rocky coasts, and approximately 20 km of sea turtle nesting beaches and a high diversity of wetland ecosystems (37 wetlands). The wetland forests are considered to be among the most pristine in Central America and worldwide.

On the Naranjo and Nancite beaches during the breeding and mating season (August to December), over 250,000 turtles nest. The majority of them are olive ridley turtles. The green, leatherback and hawksbill turtles also use the beaches quite extensively.

Guanacaste's beaches are of global importance for the protection of Olive ridley sea turtles and leatherback sea turtles, both endangered.

The main vegetation types include mixed deciduous forest with fig trees and rosewood; evergreen gallery forests along streams and behind the occasionally flooded zone; savannahs with exotic jaragua grass; oak forests and savannahs; and mangroves. There is also beach vegetation, and areas of calabash forest. The intact altitudinal transect contained within the site protects an entire elevational and east-west seasonal migratory route from the Pacific coast to 2,000 m above sea level, from dry forest to cloud forest and down to Atlantic rainforest, which is critical for the range and life histories of many species of animal.

In the area of Volcan Rincon de la Vieja, four different forest types are present: tropical wet; premontane moist; premontane rain; and lower montane rain; this forest is covered by clouds all year and the trees are dwarfed because of prevailing strong winds and sandy soils.

The area contains a very diverse fauna with several species of conservation concern. Some notable mammals are white-tailed deer, white-lipped peccary, collared peccary, Central American tapir, white-face monkey and spider monkey, howler monkey, collared anteater, jaguar, margay, jaguarundi and ocelot.

The avifauna is well represented in the area with more 500 species. Among the bird species the following are the most common: military macaw, rufescent tinamu, spot-bellied bobwhite, great curassow, crested guan, blue-winged teal, roseate spoonbill, thick knee, jabiru, ibis and laughing falcon

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC