Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

By William Barnett, William Durham
2003 | Case No. SI48
In 1985, Daniel Janzen, one of the world’s foremost tropical ecologists, proposed a bold plan to preserve and restore a substantial tropical forest in Costa Rica, called the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG). The project reformed the Costa Rican Park Service, as the ACG was operated relatively independently from the central government, with operating expenses paid for through an endowment raised by Janzen. The case describes the development of the ACG, including its growth through debt-for-nature swaps, its interaction with the local community, and it’s role in education and research. Tourism was relatively undeveloped in the ACG. The ACG was financially independent of the central government until 1998, when the endowment declined, and a government hostile to environmental issues took power, killing several ACG initiatives and removing local control of ACG in favor of central control. In 2002, however, a government that was friendly to environmental causes returned to power, and local control was reinstituted. The ACG leadership now needed to establish priorities for the future.
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