Drawing A Green Line

Costa Rica Makes Audacious Plans to Reclaim

On a sunny January afternoon, as a steady wind sweeps across Costa Rica’s Pacific slope, 18-year-old conservation worker Dunia Garcia settles down to sort the insects she has collected during the past week. From the porch of her two-room, wooden biological station perched on the shoulder of an idle volcano, Garcia has an astounding view – literally from the continental divide to the Pacific Ocean. Her view also defines the choices facing Costa Rica. Will the Central American country follow the path Garcia can see to the West – where dusty pastures stretch without relief to the Pacific shore, on land that was once dry tropical forest? Or will it choose the path she sees to the north and east, in the protected forests of the three national parks within the Guanacaste Conservation Area?