||Mangroves are tropical and subtropical ecosystems found in intertidal zones that provide
vital ecosystem services including sustenance of commercially important fishery species,
improvement of coastal water quality through nutrient cycling and sediment interception,
and protection of coastal communities from storm surge and erosion. However, land
use conversion and water pollution are threatening these ecosystems and their associated
This master’s project conducted an ecological assessment on a mangrove forest adjoining
the property of the Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa in Playa Flamingo, located in the
Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. The project analyzed vegetation health, water and
soil quality, bird species richness, and identified threats to the forest. It also
assessed several options for the resort’s development of ecotourism, such as community
involvement, the construction of an educational boardwalk, and the creation of a vegetation
buffer adjoining the mangroves.
The results indicate that the Flamingo Mangroves are generally in a healthy state.
Vegetation structure like canopy height, biomass, vegetation importance values, and
species distribution compares well with previous ecological studies on mature tidal
mangroves. The ecosystem supports 42 resident bird species and likely up to 30 migratory
species. However, water quality is a major concern, which reported elevated levels
of nitrogen and phosphorus through runoff and discharged wastewater in the northern
section of the forest. Additionally, the western edge of the forest adjoining the
beach road is frequently disturbed by automotive traffic and runoff, displaying reduced
or stunted vegetation and sandy soil.
This report contains several recommendations on how to preserve the mangroves by improving
water quality, reducing physical and chemical disturbances, and engaging the community.
The results of the project will be incorporated into our client‘s and Flamingo community‘s
future management practices to conserve the Flamingo Mangroves and emphasize the value
of this ecosystem.