Author(s): Christos Astaras
Type: M.E.S. Papers/Theses
The creation of protected areas had for a long time been the preferred approach to
biological conservation across the world. Ecologically important and sensitive areas are placed under management plans that tend to limit human development activities in them.
Although often challenged on ethical grounds, this approach has managed to place within
some type of protected area1 more than 12 million km2 worldwide (Boukhari 2000). Yet,
increasing pressure from the ever-growing human population has converted many of
these areas in conservation islands surrounded by often-incompatible land uses. This
pattern is especially apparent in the tropics, where the worlds biological diversity and human population is concentrated. Even in Costa Rica, considered a leader in the field of tropical conservation, protected areas are threatened by increasing habitat fragmentation and isolation resulting from deforestation and agricultural land use practices. In response, in Costa Rica and other parts of the world, new conservation models are applied where human development and conservation objectives are deemed compatible and are merged together in integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs). Buffer zones are often designed around protected areas as part of ICDP initiatives.
This research initiates and examines the process of designing and managing a buffer
zone for Los Cusingos Neotropical Bird Sanctuary within the ICDP paradigm, as part of
the broader Las Nubes Conservation Program. The research also explores the role of
community participation in establishing the buffer zone.