Forests and the forestry sector
According to preliminary data from the 2001 edition of FAO¿s State of the World¿s Forests (SOFO), in 2000 natural forests, plantations and special ecosystems covered 43.6 percent of the country¿s total land area, with natural forests accounting for 38.6 percent of this. Costa Rica has set aside approximately 25 percent of the country for conservation, divided into various management categories. Primary forest outside these areas covers about 180 000 ha, 60 percent of it concentrated in three areas - the northern, Baja Talamanca and Osa Peninsula zones - and the other 40 percent scattered over small areas. Planted forests covered about 158 000 ha in 1999 and the forest industry is coming to depend increasingly on raw materials from these plantations.
Costa Rica¿s economy is based on tourism and agriculture (coffee, banana and other items such as sugar, meat, dairy products and cocoa). The agricultural sector contributes about 30 percent to the gross domestic product. Despite a significant decrease in 2000, it provides 28 percent of jobs and produces 60 percent of exports. According to official statistics, in the past ten years the forestry sector has contributed 5 percent to the total agricultural product and about 1 percent to the gross domestic product. National statistics generally do not take account of contributions from the forestry sector in support of other sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy and tourism.
Last updated: July 2001