Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Huellas ecológicas en Monteverde, Costa Rica


Sarah Ory



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Publication Date

May 2009


In this study I calculated the Ecological Footprints of community members in three areas in the zone of Monteverde, Costa Rica. The three areas that I studied were San Luis/ Cañitas, Santa Elena/ Cerro Plano, and Monteverde. I presented a survey of 21 questions regarding a person’s environmental impacts in rural communities and more urban communities. I assessed the difference in Ecological Footprints, Carbon Footprints, Food Footprints, Housing Footprints, and Goods and Services Footprints between the three communities and determined no statistically significant differences. The mean Ecological Footprint in San Luis/ Cañitas was 8.12, Santa Elena/ Cerro Plano was 8.44, and Monteverde was 7.04. Additionally, I compared the footprints in the three communities with the mean footprints in Costa Rica as a country. Costa Rica’s mean Ecological Footprint (10.5) and Carbon Footprint (3.6) were significantly higher than those of the three communities I looked at in Monteverde. There were no significant differences between the Food Footprints and Goods and Services Footprints. I found that food consumption was the most influential factor in the Ecological Footprints in San Luis/ Cañitas, Santa Elena/ Cerro Plano, and Monteverde (48%, 52%, 49% respectively). The Housing Footprint was a higher percentage of the total Ecological Footprint in San Luis/ Cañitas (32%) in contrast to Santa Elena/ Cerro Plano (19%), and Monteverde (20%). The percentage of Goods and Services Footprint in the total Ecological Footprint was similar in San Luis/ Cañitas, Santa Elena/ Cerro Plano, and Monteverde (13%, 14%, and 14%, respectively). I also examined what percentage of people in each community finished primary school, high school, and university, as well as what percentage of people were from Monteverde, San Luis, other areas in Costa Rica, and areas outside of Costa Rica. Using the Ecological Footprint to determine the impact that a person has on the environment is extremely important in raising awareness through the knowledge of how each individual and their personal decisions can affect the environment. Through assessing different communities, understanding can be achieved as to how community dynamics and individual decisions can be utilized to improve human impact on the environment. En este estudio calculé la huella ecológica de los miembros de la comunidad en tres áreas diferentes dentro de la zona de Monteverde, Costa Rica; San Luis/Cañitas, Santa Elena/Cerro Plano y Monteverde. Utilice una encuesta de 21 preguntas sobre el impacto de las personas en las comunidades urbanas y rurales. Utilice las diferentes huellas entre las comunidades y determine que no hay diferencias entre las comunidades.


Ecological disturbances, Alteraciones ecologicas, Environmental sustainability, Sostenibilidad del ambiente, Costa Rica--Guanacaste--Cañitas, CIEE Spring 2009, CIEE Primavera 2009


Student affiliation : Department of Biology, University of Puget Sound Born Digital

Subject: topical

Ecological disturbances; Alteraciones ecologicas; Environmental sustainability; Sostenibilidad del ambiente; CIEE Spring 2009; CIEE Primavera 2009

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Guanacaste--Cañitas



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Ecological footprints in Monteverde,  Costa Rica



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