Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Costa Rica Related Abstracts

4 Water Balance in the Forest Basins Essential for the Water Supply in Central America

Authors: Elena Listo Ubeda, Miguel Marchamalo Sacristan

Abstract:

The demand for water doubles every twenty years, at a rate which is twice as fast as the world´s population growth. Despite it´s great importance, water is one of the most degraded natural resources in the world, mainly because of the reduction of natural vegetation coverage, population growth, contamination and changes in the soil use which reduces its capacity to collect water. This situation is especially serious in Central America, as reflected in the Human Development reports. The objective of this project is to assist in the improvement of water production and quality in Central America. In order to do these two watersheds in Costa Rica were selected as experiments: that of the Virilla-Durazno River, located in the extreme north east of the central valley which has an Atlantic influence; and that of the Jabillo River, which flows directly into the Pacific. The Virilla river watershed is located over andisols, and that of the Jabillo River is over alfisols, and both are of great importance for water supply to the Greater Metropolitan Area and the future tourist resorts respectively, as well as for the production of agriculture, livestock and hydroelectricity. The hydrological reaction in different soil-cover complexes, varying from the secondary forest to natural vegetation and degraded pasture, was analyzed according to the evaluation of the properties of the soil, infiltration, soil compaction, as well as the effects of the soil cover complex on erosion, calculated by the C factor of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). A water balance was defined for each watershed, in which the volume of water that enters and leaves were estimated, as well as the evapotranspiration, runoff, and infiltration. Two future scenarios, representing the implementation of reforestation and deforestation plans, were proposed, and were analyzed for the effects of the soil cover complex on the water balance in each case. The results obtained show an increase of the ground water recharge in the humid forest areas, and an extension of the study of the dry areas is proposed since the ground water recharge here is diminishing. These results are of great significance for the planning, design of Payment Schemes for Environmental Services and the improvement of the existing water supply systems. In Central America spatial planning is a priority, as are the watersheds, in order to assess the water resource socially and economically, and securing its availability for the future.

Keywords: Water, Soil, infiltration, Costa Rica

Procedia PDF Downloads 252
3 Soils Properties of Alfisols in the Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Authors: Elena Listo, Miguel Marchamalo

Abstract:

This research studies the soil properties located in the watershed of Jabillo River in the Guanacaste province, Costa Rica. The soils are classified as Alfisols (T. Haplustalfs), in the flatter parts with grazing as Fluventic Haplustalfs or as a consequence of bad drainage as F. Epiaqualfs. The objective of this project is to define the status of the soil, to use remote sensing as a tool for analyzing the evolution of land use and determining the water balance of the watershed in order to improve the efficiency of the water collecting systems. Soil samples were analyzed from trial pits taken from secondary forests, degraded pastures, mature teak plantation, and regrowth -Tectona grandis L. F.- species developed favorably in the area. Furthermore, to complete the study, infiltration measurements were taken with an artificial rainfall simulator, as well as studies of soil compaction with a penetrometer, in points strategically selected from the different land uses. Regarding remote sensing, nearly 40 data samples were collected per plot of land. The source of radiation is reflected sunlight from the beam and the underside of leaves, bare soil, streams, roads and logs, and soil samples. Infiltration reached high levels. The majority of data came from the secondary forest and mature planting due to a high proportion of organic matter, relatively low bulk density, and high hydraulic conductivity. Teak regrowth had a low rate of infiltration because the studies made regarding the soil compaction showed a partial compaction over 50 cm. The secondary forest presented a compaction layer from 15 cm to 30 cm deep, and the degraded pasture, as a result of grazing, in the first 15 cm. In this area, the alfisols soils have high content of iron oxides, a fact that causes a higher reflectivity close to the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum (around 700mm), as a result of clay texture. Specifically in the teak plantation where the reflectivity reaches values of 90 %, this is due to the high content of clay in relation to others. In conclusion, the protective function of secondary forests is reaffirmed with regards to erosion and high rate of infiltration. In humid climates and permeable soils, the decrease of runoff is less, however, the percolation increases. The remote sensing indicates that being clay soils, they retain moisture in a better way and it means a low reflectivity despite being fine texture.

Keywords: Remote Sensing, infiltration, Costa Rica, alfisols

Procedia PDF Downloads 501
2 The Green Propaganda: Paradoxes of Costa Rica as the Poster Child for Sustainable Tourism

Authors: Maria Jose Ramos Villagra

Abstract:

Since the boom of tourism in the late 80s and 90s, Costa Rica is considered as one of the leading countries for tourism. The size and geography of its territory, its low population density, and its image of being one of the most stable Latin American democracies make Costa Rica an attractive and safe target for foreign investors. Land ownership by foreign investors has increased as the natural resources in rural communities have been exhausted. When nature becomes an instrument to increase profit, it loses its communal value contributing to local communities losing their sovereignty and access to basic resources. The rural regions in proximity to the most tourist areas are often the most marginalized. The purpose of this research is to use the case of the rural community Sardinal and its struggle to protect its aquifer to investigate the economic and cultural consequences of the tourism boom in Costa Rican rural communities. The process of reclaiming the access to and the preservation of the aquifer enabled individuals to redefine their political views and their political power. The case of Sardinal broke the stereotypes about rural individuals and their ability to politically educate themselves and organize. Sardinal´s conflict brought to light the necessity of questioning the role of modern tourism as part of Costa Rica’s national identity, and as a tool for development

Keywords: Water, Environment, Tourism, Economy, Ecotourism, Rural development, Costa Rica, Sardinal

Procedia PDF Downloads 274
1 Applied Transdisciplinary Undergraduate Research in Costa Rica: Five Weeks Faculty-Led Study Abroad Model

Authors: Sara Shuger Fox, Oscar Reynaga

Abstract:

This session explains the process and lessons learned as Central College (USA) faculty and staff developed undergraduate research opportunities within the model of a short-term faculty-led study abroad program in Costa Rica. The program in Costa Rica increases access to research opportunities across the disciplines and was developed by faculty from English, Biology, and Exercise Science. Session attendees will benefit from learning how faculty and staff navigated the program proposal process at a small liberal arts college and, in particular, how the program was built to be inclusive of departments with lower enrollment, like those currently seen in the humanities. Vital to this last point, presenters will explain how they negotiated issues of research supervision and disciplinary authority in such a way that the program is open to students from multiple disciplines without forcing the program budget to absorb costs for multiple faculty supervisors traveling and living in-country. Additionally, session attendees will learn how scouting laid the groundwork for mutually beneficial relationships between the program and the communities with which it collaborates. Presenters will explain how they built a coalition of students, faculty advisors, study abroad staff and local research hosts to support the development of research questions that are of value not just to the students, but to the community in which the research will take place. This program also incorporates principles of fair-trade learning by intentionally reporting research findings to local community members, as well as encouraging students to proactively share their research as a way to connect with local people.

Keywords: Sustainability, Research, transdisciplinary, Costa Rica

Procedia PDF Downloads 272