Today we visited the cloud forest reserve and were able to tour the forest for around 3 hours. This tour was extensive with the guide teaching all of us about the different animals and plants that we would see, especially how all of the different living creatures would need each other to survive. For instance, the most obvious example of this that I can think of was the interaction that a hanging flower would have with a bat. This flower would grow and once ready to be pollenated it would have an extra organ which the bats can sense. Then the bats would come to these flowers and would get their food from it while also pollenating the flower. This cohesion between the life present in the cloud forest is a perfect example of what I found most interesting about the forest. Therefore, this made the information we were told about how impactful climate change is on the forest much more devastating.
After the hike throughout the cloud forest we attended a lecture by Don Guillermo who taught us about the sustainability of Costa Rica as well as some of the history of Costa Rica and specifically Monteverde. With the combination of what we learned during the hike and from our lecture I feel confident in my understanding of the sustainability efforts in Costa Rica and how they are possible while also being producers of many different fruits along with coffee. Firstly, the basic sustainability efforts such as composting and laying out coffee beans to dry in the sun naturally are big aspects of the sustainability efforts in agriculture. However, there are many other facets of the sustainability; for instance, Cafe Britt recycles their espresso pods as a way to make new items. During out visit to their headquarters we saw a couple of benches made out of synthetic wood and were actually all recycled pods. Therefore, each different plantation or company may have their own specific efforts to reach higher sustainability. Another effort that Costa Rica must make when looking at being sustainable is how to deal with tourism. Tourism is an essential piece of the Costa Rican economy, especially in places like Monteverde; however, tourism causes higher usage of plastic water bottles as an example of the negative impacts. Therefore, there must be a balance between the focus on the economy and effects it has on the environment in Costa Rica and worldwide.
On the other hand, besides how being sustainable while being a producer, the entire country of Costa Rica has had to increase their conservation efforts. In Costa Rica’s history many of the forests were destroyed to create pastures for the grazing of animals, but his began to kill the biodiversity and wildlife of Costa Rica. So in response the country began to work to reverse these effects by planting more trees and working to create the forests back. The country was very successful in these efforts and now the county is able to properly focus on the conservation of the forests. There are now many forests and plots of land that are protected areas of land and by having these laws in place Costa Rica can avoid repeating the mistakes they made in their past. Between focusing on conservation, production, and sustainability there is one that is the most important and that is conservation. Without conservation most production processes would be unable to be operated and without the nature there would be nothing to be sustained. Therefore, when analyzing each of these aspects it is evident that conservation efforts is the core piece to being able to have each other aspect.