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Authors: Haynes, Rebecca
Advisors: Wilcove, David
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Following decades of rampant deforestation, Costa Rica gave birth to a political framework and a system of protected areas devoted to the preservation of the country’s ecosystems and wildlife. Forest regeneration seen across the nation in recent years has led to its international recognition as a conservation success story. Is this praise justified, according to recent forest cover trends? This study uses ArcGIS to analyze land cover maps from 2000, 2005, and 2010 in order to assess forest losses and gains in Costa Rica. The analysis revealed that forest cover increased by 13.4% across the country from 2000 to 2010. In the biological corridors that link protected areas, net forest regrowth was 17.1%. Net deforestation of 4.7% in the national parks and 5.8% in the biological reserves occurred, but further examination revealed that these two figures are at least partially due to error. Forest cover was stable in the buffer zones surrounding the parks, with net forest regrowth ranging from 0.20% to 12.0%, but net forest loss occurred in the buffer zones surrounding the reserves, at rates ranging from 4.8% to 6.9%. Loss of forest in areas surrounding the reserves indicates cause for concern because these buffers are critical to preventing the isolation of ecosystems within protected areas. However, these results reveal general trends towards net reforestation in Costa Rica, concentrated in the biological corridors, which may positively contribute to wildlife conservation.
Extent: 79 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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