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Palms, the Journal of the IPS
2008 Biennial - Costa Rica, May 3-10

The 2008 IPS Biennial was sponsored by the International Palm Society and hosted by selected local residents and IPS members living in Costa Rica. The event was coordinated by CRT Destination Marketing and Management Services, our selected agency for the Biennial and the pre- and post- Biennial extension tours within Costa Rica, and by Inkaterra for the official post tour events in the Peruvian Amazon.
Providing environmental leadership and sensitivity unparalleled elsewhere, Costa Rica has set aside nearly a quarter of its land as protected areas and national parks. This commitment is further demonstrated by the scores of private conservancies that have spawned smartly planned ecotourism sites that support further unchecked land development, which impacts ecological habitats in a country that harbors nearly 5% of the world’s biodiversity. While Costa Rica is best known as an invaluable refuge for nature, this nation of four million is also a haven of peace having declared its neutrality in 1949.

Located at the nexus of two continents, Costa Rica is part of a link that forms the isthmus of Central America. A mere six hours drive separates the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean and its borders are defined by Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. Four mountain chains form its interior giving rise to a multitude of climate zones from coastal tropical forests to cloud shrouded rain forests in the high sierras. Costa Rica is one of Mother Nature's great bottlenecks where geography constricts a breathtaking amount of plant and animal life within 19,563 square miles (50,900 sq. km), comparable in size to Denmark or West Virginia. Its biodiversity includes more than 800 species of ferns, 1,000 of orchids, 2,000 kinds of trees, and 200 species of mammals just to start.

The rainy season lasts from May through November, and mainly falls on the Caribbean coast, giving the Pacific a much more arid climate. Our journeys were concentrated in elevation sites primarily in the Central Valley and Pacific coast on day trips from San José. The area sites were selected on bio-diversity, traveling distances, road conditions and hotel accommodations suitable for large attendance. Unlike New Caledonia and the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica’s habitats are either restricted or planned to support the safety of the ecotourism industry. Our Biennial tour spanned both National Parks with guides and private conservancies.

 

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