In 2008, former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias authorized the removal of over 600 acres of yellow almond trees in order to build a gold mine in Las Crucitas, a small town in Northern Costa Rica. Costa Rican law prohibits the cutting down of these trees, as they are the main source of food for the endangered green macaw. However, Arias went ahead with his authorization, making an agreement with Industrias Infinitos, a subsidiary of Infinito Gold Ltd., a Canadian mining company to mine an estimated $1 billion worth of gold.
Famous for its ecological wildlife, tropical rainforests, beaches, mangroves, and coral reefs, the Talamanca region of southeastern Costa Rica is one of the most biologically rich areas in the world. It has gained protection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ecological conservation efforts have helped spur the region’s flourishing eco-tourism industry. In addition to fishing, coffee, and banana exports, eco-tourism is a major source of income for local communities and indigenous groups, which include the Bribri and Cabecar.