We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

An ambitious effort to catalogue all the species living in Costa Rica and find sustainable ways of exploiting them is under threat because funds are running out.

Last month, the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) began terminating contracts for one-third of the 50 researchers tasked with describing and recording the nation's rich biodiversity.

The institute, set up in 1989, had been hailed as one of the first to champion the economic importance of conserving biodiversity.

INBio also tried to be self-sufficient. It set up pioneering deals with pharmaceutical companies looking for new chemicals in wild species, which brought in royalties. Many of INBio's projects now fund themselves.

But 90 per cent of the inventory programme's budget came from two seven-year grants that will run out by the end of 2005.

Most job losses are in the institute's insect department, considered one of the best collections of specimens in Latin America.

INBio officials hope that the setback is temporary and that staff will be rehired by 2007.

But observers say that the institute's managers were not aggressive enough in pursuing funding. They say INBio — which is a non-governmental organisation — needs either government funding or a multi-million dollar endowment to secure the future of its inventory programme.

Link to full news story in Science