30 Jun 2017

Savegre Bioshpere Reserve

In June of 2017, the Savegre watershed was official designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Members of the San Gerardo de Dota community have been working with officials on a national and international level for several years to achieve this distinction.


Savegre biosphere reserve is located on the Central Pacific in Costa Rica, 190 km from the capital, San José. It counts with a rich biodiversity, and is home to 20% of the country’s total flora, 54% of its mammals and 59% of its birds. Nearly 50,000 people live in the biosphere reserve. The main productive activities are agriculture and livestock. Crop production is significant in areas with higher altitudes, and includes plantations of apple, plum, pomegranate, blackberry, strawberry and avocado. Ecotourism has increased significantly during recent years, and has become a source of socio-economic growth in the region.

Designation Date: 2017
Administrative Authorities:
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 312,914.32 ha
Core area(s): 32,417.65 ha (terrestrial: 6,544.24 ha; marine: 25,873.41 ha)
Buffer area(s):  199,306.63 ha (terrestrial: 75,679.37 ha; marine: 123,614.61 ha; island: 12.65 ha)
Transition area(s): 81,190.04 ha
Midpoint: 09°22ʹ01.2ʺ N – 84°58ʹ37.9ʺ O

The main characteristics of a Biosphere Reserve are:

  • Achieving the three interconnected functions: conservation, development and logistic support;
  • Outpacing  traditional confined conservation zones, through appropriate zoning schemes combining core protected areas with zones where sustainable development is fostered by local dwellers and enterprises with often highly innovative and participative governance systems;
  • Focusing on a multi-stakeholder approach with particular emphasis on the involvement of local communities in management;
  • Fostering dialogue for conflict resolution of natural resource use;
  • Integrating cultural and biological diversity, especially the role of traditional knowledge in ecosystem management;
  • Demonstrating sound sustainable development practices and policies based on research and monitoring;
  • Acting as sites of excellence for education and training;
  • Participating in the World Network.

An article in English highlighting the naming of the reserve can be found at the Tico Times.

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