The Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA) possesses several protected areas, among these are Corcovado and Piedras Blancas National Parks, the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve and Golfito Wildlife Refuge.
Corcovado National Park encompasses 44,484.56 terrestrial ha and 5,375 marine ha and contains a variety of ecosystems including forests, beaches, coral reefs, and mangrove and freshwater swamps.
Corcovado has an unusually high level of biological diversity, which provides essential habitat for a number of endemic and endangered species, and which makes Corcovado, Costa Rica’s most biologically important protected lowland area, according to the Ministry of Environment .
The area includes around 25-30 ecosystems. These various habitats support an incredible number of species of plants and wildlife, including a number of animals that are globally endangered, including jaguars, tapirs, and peccaries The fact that Corcovado contains significant populations of large predators such as jaguars and pumas reflects the overall ecosystem integrity of the area.
Scientists are still recognizing new and unique biological processes that occur in the Corcovado area. Biologists recently discovered that Golfo Dulce, located just east of Corcovado, is a calving area for both northern and southern Pacific populations of humpback whales. This circumstance is unknown, and may prove essential for the preservation of genetic diversity of this species. These whales pass through the protected waters of Corcovado National Park and the Isla del Caño.
Recently the highly endangered harpy eagle believed to be locally extinct in Corcovado National Park since 1989, was confirmed to still exist in the Park or to have returned.
Corcovado and the Osa Peninsula contain extremely high species diversity. Biologists estimate that the area contains approximately 10,000 species of insects, at least 2,418 species of plants, 700 species of trees, 140 species of mammals, 367 specietypes of birds, 117 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 40 species of freshwater fish. An estimated 49 species of trees in the area are in danger of extinction, at least 12 of which are endemic to Costa Rica. In addition, the Osa Peninsula is the home of an endemic species of bird and 17 endemic subspecies of birds. Corcovado also contains the most significant populations of large endangered mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, white-lipped peccaries, and tapirs, on the Pacific coast of Central America. In addition to endangered mammals, there are relatively large populations of endangered birds in Corcovado including scarlet macaws and the great curassow.
Corcovado’s forests exemplify the popular conception of the tropical rain forest, with a multitude of species, very tall trees, spectacular buttresses, large woody lianas, and abundant herbaceous vines.
In sum, Corcovado represents one of the world’s most important sources for future knowledge about rainforest ecosystems and the conservation of biological diversity.
For more scientific information about Corcovado National park (Corcovado National Park World Heritage Site Doc.)
“The diversity of ecological systems found on the Osa (Peninsula) is not exceeded by any area of comparable size on earth” Dr. Larry Gilbert of the University of Texas
These various habitats support an incredible number of species of plants and wildlife, including a number of animals that are globally endangered, including jaguars and, tapirs
Biologists recently discovered that Golfo Dulce, located just east of Corcovado , is a calving area for both northern and southern Pacific populations of humpback whales.
Corcovado also contains the most significant populations of large endangered mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, white-lipped peccaries, and tapirs, on the Pacific coast of Central America .
Approximately one third of the trees in Costa Rica can be found in the Corcovado area, including one-half of the endangered trees in the country.
"The Corcovado Foundation is a leading actor in ACOSA, especially concerning the implementation of plans for sustainable development, the organization of community based groups and the request and manage of funding…" Alvaro Ugalde, Director of ACOSA and Father of the National Park System