The Costa Rican rainforest is among the most interesting ecosystems because of the extensive mixture of biotic and abiotic components found in it. The ecosystem of Costa Rica is diverse and entails different species of fauna and flora. The rainforest is located within the borders of Coast Rica; however, some parts of its ecosystem span across other geographical boundaries. Nevertheless, Costa Rica rainforest is located within latitude 10%u030A00’ North of the Equator and longitude 84%u030A%u030A00 (GMT, 2012). Generally, the ecosystem is mostly located on the Northwestern, Northeaster, South Eastern, and Southwestern borders of the country. This unique distribution of the rain forest is shown on the map below. It is also important to note that the rainforest is distributed at both low and high altitudes.
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Biotic and Abiotic Components of Costa Rican Rainforest
The ecosystem of Costa Rica is home to some of the most endangered and rare species. The biotic components of the ecosystem include different specifies of plants and animals. Among the biotic components are parasitic tree species such as the towering ceiba and strangler fig tree (Greenspan, 2011). There are also mammal species such as the jaguar, native monkeys, Baird’s Tapir, and the three-toed sloth (Greenspan, 2011). There are also numerous bird species such as the infamous harpy eagle, chestnut-mandible toucan, and scarlet macaw. The ecosystem is also endowed with a rich species of insects that colonize different soils in the ecosystem.
On the other hand, the abiotic components of the Costa Rican rainforest include the water, soil ph, and sunlight. The rainforest is essentially covered in rich and thick canopy; hence, sunlight does not effectively reach the base of the trees in the forest. As a result, the soil pH of the Costa Rican rainforest is less acidic, which provides a good environment for the growth of plants in the rainforest. Water is also a component of the abiotic system by virtue of the microclimate created in the ecosystem.
Effect of Current Human Activity
The Costa Rican rainforest has undergone tremendous changes as a result of increasing degradation of its natural components. According to Butler (2011), the deforestation rate of Costa Rica is 0.1%, which represents 117.2% increase since the 1990s. The current rate of deforestation is attributed to the changing population factors that necessitate the utilization of more land for agricultural purposes. Although there are some nature conservation groups, their efforts have extremely low outcome, which points to weak regulatory mechanisms. The problem is also made worse by the changing composition of the population of some species in the rainforest ecosystem. Butler (2011) observes that there are changing characteristics in native species such that out of the 117 native tree species, 4 are currently critically endangered, 33 are endangered, and more than 74 native species are vulnerable. Human activity has also led to the introduction of new species into the ecosystem; consequently, affecting the previous balance that existed in the ecosystem.
Effect of Future Human Activity
The future human activity in the Costa Rican rainforest ecosystem is going to have a huge impact on the distribution of species representing both flora and fauna. With the constantly changing abiotic components that interact with the biotic factors, this will have an impact on the distribution of the latter. In fact, it is important to note that the changing lifestyle and economic activities will definitely affect the pattern of utilizing resources. This is further complicated by the aspect of changing population pattern, which has a direct impact on issues such as settlement and agricultural activities. Hence, in the future, there will be significant changes in the forest cover, especially in Costa Rican rainforests, primarily because they are located in some of the richest agricultural areas. Additionally, in the future, there will be more abiotic factors affecting the ecosystem.
Human Activities that Will Aid in Preserving the Specified Ecosystem
Several measures and guidelines need to be undertaken to preserve the Costa Rican rainforest from undergoing further degradation. The following guidelines can be used to safeguard the ecosystem:
- First, there is a need for an assessment to be carried out to establish the precise species that are endangered, especially if there are any changes in the affected populations.
- Secondly, there is a need to establish the existing relationship between the biotic and abiotic components and design corrective strategies where the relationship undermines coexistence.
- Thirdly, there is a need for creation of protected areas in the most affected parts of the ecosystem, especially where balance of diversity is about to be completely affected. These protected zones need to be documented so that the governmental authorities can confidently establish enforcement measures to protect the affected areas.
- Fourthly, there is a need to formulate specific policies that would be used to establish the allowable level of utilization of forest resources for supporting economic activities.
- Fifthly, there is a need for a special fund to be created, which will be used to support the environmental campaigns, since most of them are sponsored.
In addition, there is a need for the environmental authorities to create a specific environmental charter that will be implemented for a specific period of time, for example, 10 years.
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