Costa Rica Declares BioAlfa to Be of National Interest

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A species page from the Area de Conservacion website

On Tuesday, June 12, Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, signed a decree declaring that it is a national priority for Costa Rica to know and identify all of the country’s multicellular species, using the citizen science and DNA barcoding tools developed in ACG as the proof of concept for the rest of the country. The new decree means that BioAlfa, as the project is called, will now be developed throughout Costa Rica over the next 10 years, with the help of international partners. As Minister Rodríguez said on Tuesday, “Wild biodiversity has been an irrationally exploited resource and one not taken advantage of in an integrated manner. By generating knowledge about it, it can be conserved, appreciated, and sustainably integrated into the country’s socioeconomic matrix like any other public good. Creating sensitivity and awareness of the need to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity is an important part of the philosophy of our programs.” The information generated by this initiative will be integrated into the Platform for Knowledge Management and Biodiversity Information (PGCIB). GDFCF President Dr. Dan Janzen and Vice President Winnie Hallwachs, along with Costa Rica colleagues, will be presenting the BioAlfa project at The Big Challenge Science Festival and the 8th International Barcode of Life Conference, both in Trondheim, Norway, next week. For more information on BioAlfa and how it came to be, read this article, written in advance of the Norway events.