Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

Renowned for its beauty and biological diversity, Costa Rica’s Osa and Golfito region is an ecotourism paradise. But the area is poised for significant changes, including the proposed construction of an international airport and a hydroelectric dam. Rising demand for palm oil is driving conversion of diverse agricultural land to single-crop plantations. Through Woods’ Osa and Golfito Initiative (known by its Spanish acronym INOGO), Stanford researchers and students are working with local residents, government, the private sector and NGOs to pioneer a living process for sustainable development. The initiative is developing a strategy for the region that integrates economic well being, environmental health and social equity. It is empowering people to improve their economic outlook while stewarding the environment.


Making Sustainability Pay

Through its Caminos de Liderazgo (Pathways to Leadership) program co-funded by the CRUSA Foundation of Costa Rica, INOGO provided connections to mentoring and a national tourism agency to improve a small family eco-tourism and café business and promote sustainable entrepreneurship. The business is now featured as part of Caminos de Osa, a newly created tour route modeled on the Inca Trail, and has more opportunity to expand. By listening to local business owners, community leaders, and scholars in Costa Rica, INOGO, supports a thoughtful approach to conservation that considers the community’s socio-economic needs. Read more and watch video.

Training Environmental Leaders

Building on two pilot efforts, INOGO launched the Stanford Environmental Leadership and Language Program (SELAL), an intensive program focused on engaging key community actors and training local high school students in environmental leadership, ecotourism and English. Led by Bing Professor in Human Biology, Emeritus, William Durham (Anthropology), SELAL addresses the challenge of sustainable development in the Osa and Golfito region. Read more.

Innovating Agriculture

Past its pilot phase, the Experimental Sustainable Palm Laboratory run by Bing Professor in Environmental Science Rodolfo Dirzo (Biology) initiated the first stage of a study with the planting of eight paired test plots. The lab will evaluate innovations in crop diversification and increased sustainability in oil palm plantations by looking at the impact of epiphytes, plants that grow on other plants, on farmers’ revenue streams and biodiversity, as well as intermingling banana, cocoa and high-value timber trees with oil palm trees to gauge effects on revenues and makes crop disease susceptibility. Read more.

Fostering Sustainable Development

Reciprocity and trust among institutions, organizations, and social networks at the local level is critical to furthering sustainable rural development and preserving biodiversity in Costa Rica, according to a paper published in the journal Human Organization by Woods Senior Fellow William Durham and other INOGO researchers. Read more.

Honoring Sustainability Heroes

The annual Stanford Bright Award co-sponsored by Woods and the Stanford Law School recognizing significant contributions to global sustainability went to Polly Courtice, founding director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, for her efforts in guiding thousands of business leaders to more sustainable business practices. Woods Senior Fellow Rodolfo Dirzo received the 2016 Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize for his efforts to inspire students from underserved communities to pursue environmental careers and conservation projects. Read more.

On Camera

Making a Living Sustainably: The Osa & Golfito Initiative

Stanford initiative reconciles perceived conflicts between human prosperity and protection of natural resources. Read more.

INOGO: Camino del Oro

The Caminos de Liderazgo program is a collaboration between local leaders and entrepreneurs, the CRUSA Foundation, INOGO, SINAC, and RBA with the support of businesses such as Nature Air, Travel Excellence and Horizontes. The program will work with about 30 regional leaders to achieve increased prosperity for the inhabitants, their local cultures, and biodiversity of the region. Read more and Slideshow

In The News

Pulling at the Heartstrings Loosens the Purse Strings

Nicole Ardoin discusses Woods-funded research showing that ecotourists are more likely to contribute to conservation efforts if they feel connected...
July 6, 2016 - By Raina Delisle, Hakai Magazine

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Estudiantes de Diseño Apoyaron a 35 Emprendedores de Osa

Notes that local design students supported 35 projects of "Caminos de Osa", a sustainable tourism program in...
August 7, 2015 - By Fabiola Vargas, La Republica

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Estudiantes de Diseño del Espacio Interno Impulsan a Emprendedores de OSA

Notes that local design students supported 35 projects of "Caminos de Osa", a sustainable tourism program in Costa Rica...
August 4, 2015 - By ,

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