Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning biodiversity. But in the 1970s, industrial agriculture saddled it with one of the world's highest rates of deforestation. By the decade's end, forest cover was only 25%. Much credit for the turnaround goes to a landmark 1996 law that banned deforestation and introduced an innovative payment system encouragingagroforestry among farmers. Trees and shrubs were integrated into productive crop and livestock farming systems. Now, farmers grow cacao and vanilla among trees that shade crops, attracting bugs to pollinate the plants. Today, forest cover is 52%.Farmers are seeing better crop yields and the increased tree coverage benefits the ecosystem. And Costa Rica maintains its perch as a destination for eco-tourism. We need the interaction of the species, said one farmer. It's magic.

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