FOR ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN ASKING OR WONDER ABOUT US GETTING SLABS FROM COSTA RICA HERE IS THE SKINNY . . . Years of unchecked logging laid waste to two-thirds of Costa Rica’s tree canopy, leaving its tropical rainforests facing an uncertain future. But the trees have returned and the resurrected forests support a thriving eco-tourism industry.
Towards the middle of the 20th century, indigenous woodland – predominantly tropical rainforest – covered all but a quarter of the country. But then the loggers arrived. The forests were cleared as crews of lumberjacks freely converted Costa Rica’s natural resources into profits.
By the early 1980s, the destruction of two-thirds of the forests had ravaged the habitats of indigenous creatures such as the golden toad and poison dart frog.
Following decades of decline, an unusual thing happened. The rate of deforestation slowed and eventually dropped to zero, and over time the trees began to return.
What caused this dramatic reversal of fortune?
The simple answer is that Costa Rica began to realize the potential of its rich ecosystems and set about safeguarding them.
Policy-makers restricted the number of logging permits and created a national forestry commission to police forest activity.
In 1996, a system of payments for environmental services was introduced to help reduce poverty, especially in poor rural areas. The National Forestry Fund was established in recognition that a healthy rainforest provides numerous benefits, which include removing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere, and water filtration.
Tropical rainforests also harbour unknown quantities of natural resources that could be used to develop pharmaceuticals and natural medicines.
The fund offered landowners per-acre financial incentives to conserve their land and prevent it degrading, which led to improved land management and reforestation.
Both individuals and entire communities can benefit from the fund, which has helped create 18,000 jobs and indirectly supports a further 30,000. It is financed from several sources, including foreign investment and loans, as well as internal revenues from fossil fuel taxation,
Safeguarding natural resources has become a priority for policy-makers who have extended protection to include secondary rainforests, which regrow naturally after being cleared or degraded. More than half of Costa Rica’s tree canopy is now secondary rainforest.
A clear correlation exists between Costa Rica’s investment in regenerating its rainforests and the country’s economic success.
Today, around half of the nation’s GDP is linked to tourism. The country is home to thriving ecotourism and adventure tourism industries, which rely on healthy rainforests.
But Costa Rica’s success story is an exception to an otherwise negative rule. Globally, tropical tree canopy loss has almost doubled over the past decade.
and a detailed explanation of the process from our supplier
Logging Certification in Costa Rica.
First in Costa Rica any tree you cut must be authorized by the Ministry of Forestry (MINAE), even if it is in your backyard. Cutting a tree with no license gets you 5 years in jail, and they take everything you have, wood, truck, warehouse, etc. Guess now why there is such high quality and diverse species in Costa Rica, their deforestation rate is 0 percent. Only country in the world...
So it works like this; first a private land owner will prepare a plan for cutting some trees off his land (Plan de Manejo), usually you can cut 3 trees per hectare (2 1/2 acres) this plan is made by a Forest Engineer. Costa Rica only allows selective cutting, clear cut does not exist here. It is presented to MINAE which sends their own engineer ato review the plan, for example you ask to cut 10 trees, they may authorize 6 depending on the conditions, location, species, etc. After the MINAE comes back and reviews each tree they authorize you to cut and give you 1 tag with one number. You cut 6 trees, and those 6 trees gives you 15 logs, so they give you 15 tags. With those tags the Ministry gives you a license to move your logs, in a GUIA (how they call it) you can move only the logs with a tag. The GUIA will have all the information where every tree is coming from, species, size, etc. You can move logs in Costa Rica from 5.00 am to 9.00Pm, illegal to move logs during the night to stop any illegal logging.
You arrive at the mill with your logs, and there is another inspection by the MINAE (ministry), all the tags in your GUIA must represent the logs you have in your truck...just one extra log with no tag...jail time. And all the logs at the mill must have these tags. If one log in the yard of a mill has no tag they are shut down and sent to jail. When you mill, they keep the tag and they must send it back to MINAE and match with what was authorized.
You understand now that illegal logging is a really stupid thing to do in this country. They have big trees because they protect and extract them in a very smart way. They probably do a better job here than a lot of independent certification companies. I will send you a GUIA as an example to give you an idea of what it looks like.
Regarding the area where we buy our logs, all around the country but mainly in Guanacaste area where it is really hot and dry, which gives a very high density and much better quality. Our wood is bought in dry area, not in rainforest as many people could believe. Rain forest will produce low density wood with less color. Trees which are growing more slowly will have a better quality. ...