Address: Diagonal to Restaurant Le Chandelier, San Pedro, Montes de Oca, San José

Phone: (506) 2253-2130

Postal Code: 236-1002, Paseo de los Estudiantes

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The Neotropic Foundation is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1985 according to Official Journal La Gaceta No. 104 in the framework of the Law on Foundations No. 5338 1973.

Its original mission was to contribute to the sustainable development of the Neotropical Region, through research, implementation and dissemination of actions that generate viable options for the sustainable use of natural resources.

You can read about our Mission and Vision current here.

It was established by a group of Costa Ricans concerned about the environmental situation of the country, and for widening the perspective of analysis and vision that is brewed with the participation of some non-governmental organizations in the work environment.

This vision linked the economic development, the conservation of resources and the human being.

Thus, the Neotropic Foundation was born to provide solutions to the problems that hinder the attainment of sustainability within the buffer zones*.

Two strategic actions were established from the beginning:

The field projects with the communities to achieve their integral development–sustainable.

The applied research that supports the actions with the people and others of higher rank, at the national level.

Since its establishment, the organization has specialized in the praxis of socio-environmental and economic development.

In addition, it is currently focused on new fields of thinking and research as the Ecological Economy and Political Ecology, looking for the application of participatory processes for the resolution of Environmental Conflicts and the dissemination of concepts of advanced assessments as multicriteria evaluations, the valuation of environmental services and the Ecological Business Footprint.

In compliance with their objectives through their Strategic Programmes.

The Foundation has carried out projects in the basin of the Tempisque River, in Guanacaste; in the Tortuguero plains, and in the South Zone of the country, in the areas adjacent to the National Parks of Corcovado and Piedras Blancas, as well as in the 'Grande de Tarcoles' high River basin.

Recently, it has worked in the Protected Zones, influencing directly the water resource, and with special emphasis on the three areas where the organization has its Centers of Studies and Communal Empowerment: Osa Peninsula, Coyolito Atirro Turrialba.

Some Thematic projects are:

  • Community-based Conservation of Wetlands

  • Plans of Management

  • Empowerment and Community Self-Management

  • Environmental Education

  • Valuation of Ecosystem Services

  • Community-Based Rural Tourism

  • Integrated management of forests

  • Integrated management of farms

  • Nursery and Reforestation

  • Agro-foresty Country Houses

  • Silvo-Pastoral Country Houses

  • Ecological Footprint

  • Rural Microempowering

  • Municipal Strengthening.

  • Production of educative material with environmental content.

  • Socioenvironmental Resolution of Conflicts

  • Incidence for the conservation of sensitive resources

  • Counseling in Environmental Services

The organization, since its creation, expected that its labor would transcend the national boarders, and established as a working environment the Neotropical (New Tropic), biogeographic area that considers the patterns of life and migration of the flora and fauna, that extends from the border area between the United Stated and Mexico to the austral Chilean Argentinian Patagonia, including the Caribbean Islands.

This considering that Nature in its processes has its own territorial division that differs a lot with the artificial boarders that we, the humans, have pointed out.

In that way, the experience generated in a country can be harnessed in the rest of this area, by the set of elements that makes it a unit.  

The Foundation projected a long-term vision, a little bit intuitive at the beginning, that allowed to generate, step by step, a solid scale of increasingly achievements, not only for the country but also for the country.

 In 1990, it started the Forestry Program, in the Peninsula of Osa.

Thereupon, it implements two projects of strong impact training in the zone “Training in the sustainable use of the natural resources” and the “Tropical Youth Center”.

The actions made in the Peninsula of Osa generated a series of innovative experiences of applied research, field work, and participation of local groups.

This led to the practical application of new ideas that emerged form the daily interaction of the conditions and local realities.

Within these activities, they stand out: local planning workshops, local forest management plans, training in productive and organizational aspects, reforestation and many others with varying degrees of success and conflicts.

From those experiences, were created opportunities to face challenges in other areas of the country.

This was the case of the Plains of Tortuguero, with the Pocotsi Program, to contribute to the better management of the natural resources in the adjacent to the so-called “Tortuguero Biological Corridor” (also promoted by the Foundation), a protected strip of some 10,000 hectares that connects the Tortuguero National Park with the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas located in the southeast of Nicaragua.

In 1994, the Foundation extended its geographical coverage to the Tempisque river basin, where was analyzed in greater detail the 50% of this basin by means of a Rapid Ecological Evaluation, carried out in conjunction with the Environmental Project for Central America (PACA) and the Nature Conservancy

At the beginning of 1997, the Austrian Cooperation Office requested the participation of the Foundation to collaborate in the socioenvironmental resolution of conflicts generated in the community of La Gamba, Golfito, Puntarenas.

As a result of the success achieved by the consultation made, it was generated the project to strengthen the self-managed capacity of the population of La Gamba, with a view to the sustainable development of their productive activities, emphasizing the diversification of tourism activity.

In 1998 it makes available to the country the land use capacity maps: forest classes at a scale of 1:50000 for the whole country.

In the same year, the study of the Rio Grande de Tárcoles Basin was carried out, in partnership with other organizations, hired by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

This basin covers about 5% of the national territory and houses almost the 60% of the population of the whole country, besides it concentrates practically 80% of the Costa Rica’s economic activity.

The Foundation developed the socioeconomical diagnostic and the community participation, under the micro-basin approach, thus facilitating an integral analysis of the social, economic, and environmental aspects of the 25 micro-basins that form it.

Another of the products contributed by this study was the elaboration of the proposal of the territorial ordering of all the basin, with emphasis in the micro watersheds identified as priority.

Between 1999 and 2000 repopulation with tall forestall species, referential maps for the realization of the municipal cadaster in several cantons, bases for the agroecological zoning of the northern zone, bases of the Payment System for Environmental Services in the micro basins Ciruelas, Tibás and Segundo.

Additionally, the work with the private company on environmental management is developed and strengthened.

Subsequently, work is done with special emphasis on the management of basins such as the Rio Damas with a strong component of community work in semi-rural areas of the Valle Central.

From this initiative also arises, the Environmental Education Program “Amigos de la Naturaleza”, which is implemented annually since then.

An important characteristic of the Foundation is the permanent research of its self-sustainability and the achievements it has achieved in this line.

For this, it has the Amigos de la Naturaleza corporate affiliation program, made up of more than 200 individual and corporate affiliates, both nationally and internationally; this program is led by the Communication and Corporate Liaison Unit.

 Likewise, it creates the Editorial Heliconia, which generates didactic material, with the highest quality and scientific rigor, for schoolchildren, tourists and researchers.

Additionally, it has developed the Analysis Unit, which directs the technical area of the organization.

Recently, a new Unit of Educational, Recreational and Communal Programs has been created, which supports the execution of the Educational Programs, as well as the development of the field stations and their interaction with the communities in which they are located (Rincón de Osa, Altirro and Coyolito) through training, volunteering and environmental recreation initiatives.

In 2008, the process of training for Naturalist Guides in Osa was resumed with the support of the private sector in its financing, with great achievement and generating a new generation of young environmental leaders in Osa and Golfito.

In 2009, the implementation of a major project began, the Mangle-Benin Project, thanks to the financial support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Fundecooperación, in the framework of the South-South, especially focused on the restoration of Golfo Dulce mangroves and applying novel methodologies that involve community participation and empowerment.

In all these geographic and thematic areas, the Neotropical Foundation has contributed to the actions that have been promoted by national and local authorities.

These are manifested in technical studies, work with companies and communities, at the level of training and technical assistance, purchase of land in protected areas.

Award for Contributions to the Improvement of the Quality of Life 1999

The granting of the Award Contributions to Improving the Quality of Life pretends to recognize and highlight the aspects or positive contributions made by different sectors of society, which affect the improvement of the quality of life of the inhabitants and contribute to shape a better society based on:

Contributory solidarity  and social security.

Protection, conservation and sustainable use of resources.

Integration of the concept of gender in programmes, projects or activities that are postulated.

The Neotropic Foundation was honored with this award in the year 1999.

“...for his research work, implementation and dissemination of actions that generate viable options to the patterns of destructive use of the natural resource base of renewable energy”.


Detail of the plate

Award for Contributions to the Improvement of the Quality of Life.

Category D.

Neotropic Foundation.

October 29, 1999.


Courtesy of Defensoría de los Habitantes de la República (Ombudsman's Office of the Republic)

In this document, it is shown a collection of people or organizations that have been awarded the prize and the reason by which they obtained such recognition.