For the first time in Costa Rican history, the boundaries of a national biological reserve have been changed to benefit a major development project.
In a country often seen as a model of environmental stewardship, critics consider the change a troubling precedent.
An overwhelming majority of the national Legislative Assembly voted to modify the limits of the Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve to accommodate the flooding of 113 hectares as part of a large dam associated with the controversial PAACUME initiative.
While the stated goal of PAACUME is to provide water to parched Guanacaste province, environmentalists charge that the dam will benefit monoculture plantations and large, private hotels.
The vast majority of water from the dam will be used for agriculture, including sugar, rice, cotton and papaya, as well as cattle grazing.
Sources: Contexto (Costa Rica), Tamarindo News (Costa Rica)