Sustainable Development

Costa Rica’s coastal Osa and Golfito counties in the southern Pacific have long been an ecotourism destination, renowned for their beauty and biological diversity. But the region is poised for significant changes, including the proposed construction of a major international airport and hydroelectric dam. Rising demand for palm oil – with its potential to drive conversion from other agricultural land uses to lucrative single-crop plantations – is another area of potential concern. Through Woods’ Osa and Golfito Initiative, Stanford researchers and students are working hand in hand with local residents, government, the private sector and NGOs to address these concerns by pioneering a living process for sustainable development that is led by Costa Ricans. INOGO, an acronym formed by the Initiative’s name in Spanish, is developing a strategy for the region that integrates economic well-being, environmental health and social equity. Read on for highlights of work INOGO is doing to empower people to improve their economic outlook while stewarding the environment.


Presidential visit

Launched with a visit from Costa Rica’s president, Luis Guillermo Solís, the Pathways to Leadership (Caminos de Liderazgo) program trains local ecotourism entrepreneurs and helps them network with the tourism industry. Co-organized by INOGO, the program has received support and interest from a range of government officials and national organizations. Read more.

Regional overview

INOGO researchers produced an overview of the Osa and Golfito region’s biological characteristics, conservation priorities and threats and literature on regional environmental services. The report suggests possible actions for achieving sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems. Read more (pdf).

Oil palm research

INOGO launched its Experimental Sustainable Palm Laboratory to evaluate innovations in crop diversification and increased sustainability as well as pathogen- and pest-resistance in oil palm plantations. Read more.

Integrated farm

INOGO started an integrated farm project to teach school groups and tourists about the benefits of intercropping, local production for local consumption and a farm's potential to provide for a family's food needs while supporting biodiversity. Read more.

On Camera

Caminos de Osa – Fostering Leadership for a Sustainable Tourism Destination

The story of Caminos de Osa, an initiative created to prepare residents of Costa Rica’s remarkably biodiverse Osa and Golfito region to capitalize on growing ecotourism in the region. [English subtitles]. More …

Costa Rica President Visits Future Environmental Leaders

Costa Rica’s president Luis Guillermo Solís and other government officials met with participants in the Caminos de Osa leadership program. More …

In The News

Let Osa Grow Green: Balancing Conservation, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship

States that the Caminos de Osa initiative, led by Stanford's Osa & Golfito Initiative and others, has pulled off a feat no one else has...
July 6, 2015 - By Randall Trejos, The Tico Times

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Orero de Corcovado Dejó su Oficio Para Convertirse en Emprendedor Turístico de la Zona Sur

Profiles Juan Cubillo, one of 23 Costa Rican entrepreneurs who recently graduated from the Caminos de Osa project, led by Stanford's Osa &...
June 27, 2015 - By Gustavo Fallas, Amelia Rueda

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Visitantes Tendrán Nuevas Rutas Turísticas en Osa Hechas Por Emprendedores

Profiles the "Caminos de Osa" initiative, a big picture vision for a tourist route or “camino” in the Osa peninsula...
June 26, 2015 - By Gustavo Fallas, amelia rueda

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Private Reserves Support National Parks in Big Cat Conservation

Refers to Stanford's Osa & Golfito Initiative as a resource for information on the exceptional biodiversity, and its myriad...
July 3, 2014 - By Luke Dollar, National Geographic Voices

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“We have discovered that green is the true color of gold, and that we must preserve it.”

- Pedro Garro, local leader, Caminos de Osa initiative

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