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Ecosystems of Costa Rica

Costa Rica has twelve of the life zones classified by L. Holdridge in 1971. In simple words, these life zones are defined by the variation of temperature and precipitation in a given area. These variables also change with elevation. The life zones are named according to the latitudinal belt (in Costa Rica they are all tropical forests), humidity (in Costa Rica: dry, moist, wet, rain) and the elevational belt (lowlands 0-500 m.a.s.l., premontane, lower montane, montane, subalpine). Here, some of the life zones are described together according to their location and elevation.

Life Zones:

Costa Rica unique topography makes it home to twelve major life zones.

The Dry forest is found in parts of the central valley but mainly across the North West Pacific Coast. 

The Forest of the Lowlands (0-500 m. altitude), -not dry forest; is mainly found in most other coastal regions (Pacific and Caribbean slopes).

As you approach 500-1500 meters in altitude you in most cases enter the Middle-elevation Forest

Above 1500 meters you get into Highland ecosystems of Costa Rica.


    There are also some other ecosystems in Costa Rica not included in the life zones categorization, such as the coral reefs or the mangroves. Some of them are described below.

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