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Equator Initiative Case Study - Foundation for Monte Alto Forest Reserve

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Responding to deforestation around the headwaters of the Nosara River, a source of drinking water and of wellbeing for the inhabitants of the small town of Hojancha in the central highlands of the Nicoya peninsula, local farmers came together in 1994 to enhance local forest conservation and create the co-managed Monte Alto Protected Zone. This 924-hectare area was created by acquiring land for natural regeneration or reforestation. A co-management agreement with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment ensures local participation in the area’s management decisions.
The Fundación Pro Reserva Forestal Monte Alto continues to use monthly contributions from its member farmers to purchase additional land parcels, adding to the forest reserve area. Alternative income-generating activities such as ecotourism have helped to decrease reliance on clearing forest for cultivation for the community’s 7,250 residents. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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