Reserva Bosque La Tigra: A replicable model for sustainable and community based ecotourism

GIZ
Published: 28 February 2022
Last edited: 26 April 2022
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Summary

Reserva Bosque La Tigra: Biodiversity in action Costa Rica aims to develop a replicable model for sustainable and community based ecotourism, which includes the creation of the Bosque La Tigra Biological Station-Reserve for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as reforestation efforts, carbon fixation, protection of drinking water sources, environmental education, biodiversity monitoring, and development of ecotourism services. Bosque La Tigra also focuses on community outreach, by facilitating capacity building and development of skills in the tourism field for local communities. 

 

The project is an initiative of the Travel to Nature company and the develoPPP program, implemented by the German Cooperation for Development, GIZ, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Classifications

Region
Central America
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Tropical evergreen forest
Theme
Adaptation
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Ecosystem services
Forest Management
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Local actors
Restoration
Tourism
Challenges
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Sustainable development goals
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience

Location

La Tigra de San Carlos, San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica | Province: San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica and San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica / Districts: San Lorenzo, La Tigra, Peñas Blancas

Challenges

La Tigra district and surroundings, located in the province of Alajuela, developed an intensive ornamental plant cultivations during the 90s, as its main economic activity which gradually disappeared and left this region with few economic and job opportunities. Moreover, the increase in illegal hunting of species and deforestation has caused significant damage to ecosystems and the local wildlife.

La Tigra and its surroundings are located in the proximity of national and private protected areas. Biodiversity is one of the main attractions of this region, which holds an immense touristic potential that has not been seized. 

Bosque La Tigra aims at coming forward as an innovative touristic product that stands out for its high sense of responsibility with local biodiversity. Also, the project aims to reactivate and dynamize the tourist activities in this region, foster the productive chains of touristic services, and creating new opportunities for the local communities of La Tigra and nearby districts.

Beneficiaries

  • Bosque La Tigra surroundings: local communities from San Lorenzo and Peñas Blancas, San Ramón; and La Tigra, San Carlos.
  • Schools from La Tigra.
  • The local biodiversity of the tropical rainforest of Bosque La Tigra.

How do the building blocks interact?

Bosque La Tigra through its sustainable business model is committed to carrying out biodiversity responsible business strategies and has engaged to make sustainable use of biodiversity for its touristic offer and to contribute with its conservation, all of these measures to guarantee the continuity of its business in the long run. The building blocks interact from this logic: Bosque La Tigra contributes to the conservation of biodiversity by restoring the forest and improving ecological connectivity. Consequently, healthy ecosystems allow the creation and design of many ecotourism products and environmental education activities that are the basis of Bosque La Tigra's business model. Moreover, the conservation of the forests allows for a healthy flow of ecosystem services that bring benefits to the communities near the project, such as potable water, clean air, climate regulation, and a diverse ecosystem. The comprehensive model is completed by the community outreach scheme that Bosque La Tigra promotes; by delivering benefits to the communities near the Project, which include the development of capacities in the tourism sector, which in turn dynamizes the economy of La Tigra and its surroundings and contributes to local development.

 

Impacts

This comprehensive initiative achieved successful interventions in multiple areas such as tropical forest restoration, enhancing the ecological connectivity, environmental education, capacity building for local communities, and the revitalization and recovery of the touristic sector locally.

Bosque La Tigra accomplished to develop an attractive touristic product for international and national visitors, communities, and students that aspire to connect with nature and learn from local biodiversity. This touristic product serves as an example, inspiration, showcase and replicable model for international and national organizations.

The project was able to implement a business model that operates within the limits of nature and that is designed to work with nature and support it. During the implementation of the project, more than 4000 native trees were planted in the reserve. A total of 46 hectares of secondary and primary rainforest can now thrive and grow under Bosque La Tigra’s stewardship. Water sources that provide drinking water for over 1000 people in La Tigra are now protected. 

The project generated impacts far beyond the limits of Bosque La Tigra, currently a group of business owners, entrepreneurs and different stakeholders from La Tigra district and other surrounding districts have engaged in a strategic process to create a new touristic destinations in the region.

Story

Sandra Weiss

The districts of San Lorenzo, La Tigra, and Peñas Blancas are crossed by national Route 702, a route highly frequented for its final destination: the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna, one of the most developed tourist centers in Costa Rica. However, the districts on Route 702, harbor immense tourist potential, great biodiversity, and tourist attractions of great interest. Likewise, there is a group of businesspeople and tourism entrepreneurs who develop their activities along this national route in search of better family income and personal development.

Bosque La Tigra has identified the tourism potential of this area and has promoted the development of skills in the tourism sector. First, with the support of GIZ, 14 people from the communities have been trained as local tour guides and 15 people have improved their management skills to apply them in their businesses.

In the second stage, Bosque La Tigra has fostered the local organization for better management of the tourist destination. Currently, a group of 30 business people and tourism entrepreneurs are organized to make decisions at the level of a new tourist destination: Destino Ecoturístico Ruta 702, making strategic decisions to develop the destination under a common vision. They have also formed a community for the exchange of experiences of good tourism practices and advice and recommendations from their peers to apply in their businesses. The organization also encourages productive linkages between businesses.

According to José Miguel Herrera, president of the Route 702 Ecotourism Association, entrepreneur and beekeeper "We organized ourselves to move forward as tourism entrepreneurs, developing the potential of our beautiful districts and supporting each other. We are aware of the precious biodiversity of our tourist destination and we want to make the best use of it while using it sustainably and guaranteeing its conservation". 

Contributed by

melinamh_41500's picture

Melina Mardones Hidalgo Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Other contributors

Travel to Nature