Oct 31. 2014

Outline:

  • Lecture with Gisella Fernández Estrada on ecotourism.
  • Field trip to the Monteverde Cloud Reserve and Children’s Eternal Rainforest
  • Interviews with the founder of Monteverde, the Monteverde Conservation League and a local.
  • Documentary “The Goose with the Golden Eggs”

First of all, Happy Halloween to all those who celebrate it! Unfortunately, people here don’t really celebrate the event so it’s workday. Technically, today is reserved for lectures and cultural visits instead of our projects, but fortunately we were learning about ecosystem services, which I count as an added day for research for me!

I know life isn’t fair. That’s what I think anyways every time I’m cursing at those rain-blasted days instead of collecting data.

We focused on understanding how ecotourism has affected Monteverde economically, socially and environmentally through lectures, interviews, a documentary and visits to major major reserves here.

What I kept in mind today were the following:

  • Understand the different types of tourism/ecosystem services that exist and their impact on local economies and nature
  • Evaluate when tourism increases a particular region’s biodiversity or not
  • Compare the 2 reserves we’ll be visiting today:
    1. Monteverde Cloud Reserve
    2. Children’s Eternal Rainforest (as part of the Monteverde Conservation League)

One of the major things we learned in lecture this morning was that ecotourists coming to Costa Rica do not always pay what they came for—that is, a unique and learning experience concerning nature. Instead of paying for the conservation of the biodiversity and scenic beauty from which ecotourism benefits from, tourists are paying for transport and food services, souvenirs and accommodation. Thus, almost all profits go to the hospitality industry, where individual interests may override the ethics of sustainable development. Unless something like a carbon tax is imposed, reserves like the Monteverde Cloud Reserve, which does not receive payments for environmental services from the government, must incorporate a focus on tourism as part of its mandate in order to sustain themselves and their conservation efforts (remember reserves and national parks in Costa Rica were first created to preserve wildlife; ecotourism was happenstance!).

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What’s Next:

  • Review documents and site plans borrowed from the Monteverde Institute.
  • People-watching during coffee and night tour.
  • Hand out surveys.