Planning and managing a multi-component, multi-category international biosphere reserve: the case of the La Amistad/Talamanca range/Bocas de Toro wildlands complex of Costa Rica and Panama
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This paper describes ongoing efforts to establish and manage a lateral biosphere reserve containing a complex of natural and cultural reserves along the Costa Rica-Panama border. It is the largest, most diverse wildland area remaining in southern Central America, home to indigenous peoples maintaining subsistance lifestyles and containing most of the two countries' hydroelectricity generating potential. The history of conservation efforts in the region and the considerable probleMON encountered in its planning and integrated management are described. Management priorities are outlined, such as land ownership consolidation, boundary adjustment, completion of individual reserve management plans and overall reserve management guidelines, implementation of resource protection, environmental education/extension and applied research programmes, and improved inter-agency cooperation in reserve management. Long-term management goals for the biosphere reserve are reviewed, including, improving land utilization practices in and near the area, investigatin and applying native people's knowledge of wild genetic resources, producing sustainable economic benefits for reserve inhabitants and national populations through integrated management of the reserve, and, assuring lasting protection of the region's outstanding natural and cultural resources. Threats to reserve integrity are described, including plans for pipelines, mining, and road construction, archaeological site looting, poaching and spontaneous colonization. International assistance in reserve planning and management, including biosphere reserve and World Heritage Site designation, is seen as stimulating local support for reserve protection and opposition to development projects which threaten the reserve.