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Researchers map wildlife and infrastructure to maximize tourism in Costa Rica


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With lush green jungles brimming with wildlife, Costa Rica has become a global tourism hotspot—and government leaders would like to keep it that way. They worked with researchers from the Stanford Natural Capital Project to understand how nature supports the country's most visited and valuable tourist destinations. The team found that tourists flock to areas where roads and hotels make it easy to access Costa Rica's famous wildlife, including charismatic mammals like howler monkeys and reptiles like crocodiles. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates the importance of protecting nature to keep tourism revenue flowing. Costa Rica plans to build on the study's results to create a nationwide accounting system to track the benefits that nature provides to its economy.

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