In the 1970s, Costa Rica suffered from one of the worst deforestation rates in the world. Large areas of lush tropical vegetation had been cut down to make way for coffee, chocolate and cattle ranching. By 1983, only a quarter of this beautiful Central American country was covered by rainforest.
Today, Costa Rica remains the first tropical country to have halted and reversed deforestation. More than half of its territory is covered by forest — thanks to substantial government subsidies for land restoration and preservation efforts by farmers and landowners.
Agroforestry and reforestation has been generally beneficial to farmers and landowners. Their incomes are augmented by government subsidies and revenue from ecotourism.
For local and indigenous communities, however, this is not always seen as a positive development. They may not gain any short-term benefits. Planting tropical fruit trees in a sustainable manner helps them to improve food security. It also encourages them to participate in the transformation and restoration of the landscape — hopefully for generations.