Costa Rica tree-planting ‘carbon neutral’ project

Costa Rica has announced plans to embark on a tree-planting project in order to make the biodiversity hotspot nation carbon neutral.

Plane tree leaves and fruit

The goal for 2008 is to plant seven million trees, which officials say will equate to 1.5 trees per person.

The Costa Rica Conservation Trust, which is not directly connected to this proejct, says nearly 26% of the nation’s land is protected in the form of national parks and private preserves, and holds around 6% of the world’s bio-diversity.

But the Trust adds that there are few corridors of protected areas to link together the national parks and reserves and illegal loggers and poachers seek out farmers and landowners boardering national parks by offering them bribes for access through their properties and into the national parks and reserves.

Here is the report from AFP:

SAN JOSE (AFP) — Costa Rica will plant seven million trees in 2008 to soak up as many greenhouse gas emissions as it produces, in a bid to become the world’s first carbon neutral nation, a top official said Monday.

“The stated goal is to be the first neutral country as far as greenhouse gas emissions is concerned,” said Energy and Environment Minister Roberto Dobles.

“To get there, this administration is betting on halting deforestation and on the ‘Plant a Tree’ project,” he added, referring to an ongoing government initiative to plant as many trees as possible in the country.

The project aims to “plant seven million trees this year, meaning that in our country there would be 1.5 trees for each Costa Rican.

He added that in 2007 the country managed to plant five million trees, spurred by the desire to forestall an impending environmental catastrophe.

“Climate change is the main threat facing humanity and, even so, the world still can’t agree to fight this problem,” Dobles said.

Every country can help in the struggle, even a small nation like his own, Dobles said.

“We all know developed countries and big developing nations like China, Brazil and India are chiefly responsible for most of the greenhouse gases that destroy the ozone layer.

“That doesn’t mean a country like Costa Rica should stand by doing nothing. On the contrary, we’re working on a series of initiatives on the national and global levels to lessen the impact” of climate change, the minister said.

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