At the event, René Castro, minister, and Werner Steinvorth together planted an endangered tree called a cristobal (Platymiscium pinnatum), one of 17 trees that an executive order prohibits from being cut down. Steinvorth was honored at the event for his work in developing sustainable forest plantations.
Castro boasted that, along with organizations like the Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal and the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, supporters have now planted more trees than there are people in Costa Rica and have covered over half of the country with trees.
“The country should complement the 52.4 percent of the territory that already has forest cover with thousands of trees planted as living fences in cattle ranches, or as shade in coffee plantations,” said Castro, according to a press release. “These trees will give us additional wood, fruits and shade.”
At the ceremony in INBioparque in Santo Domingo de Heredia, Castro recognized Steinvorth and organizations like the Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Región Atlántica that have developed and put into practice agroforestry systems and more specifically silvopasture systems that integrate agriculture with forests.
Silvopasture systems integrates crops grown on trees or shrubs with pastures for livestock ranches, making it unnecessary to entirely clear forests in order to accommodate ranches.
The Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal estimates that 795,000 hectares (1,964,488 acres) of forest are on protected land, and 63,000 hectares (155,676 acres) have been reforested.
Additionally earlier this week, the University Estatal a Distancia and the Centro Universitario de San Marcos led a group of 125 volunteers to Cerro de la Cruz in Tarrazú where they planted more than 3,000 trees as part of a national reforestation campaign started by the public university in 2008.
The event received additional support from other universities and organizations, such the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, which donates the trees.
Four recent fires have made the ground infertile, according to a press release, and the goal of the campaign is not only reforest the affected area, but also promote reforestation, sustainable agricultural practices and the protection of water resources.