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INSIDECOSTARICA.COM | COSTA RICA  NEWS |   Sunday 13 November 2011

Experiment Station Aims at Carbon Neutrality

Although many old farmers grouse that "anything grows well on an agricultural experimental station," there is no doubt that many crops now enthusiastically planted by farmers owe their success to government farms with their ground-breaking discoveries.

Los Diamantes Experiment Station in Limón province has a special distinction -- it aims at being the first government farm to reach the nation's goal of zero carbon emission, reports the news blog Inside Costa Rica.

The 890-hectare farm is especially valuable for its biodiversity -- it sprawls across three of the country's famous microclimates: tropical wet and moist forest as well as true tropical rain forest. (Because of changes in elevation in close proximity, such microclimates are common here.)

The agricultural experiment station was valued because of these microclimates that allowed for genetic developments of papaya, guava, pejivalle (a mealy tropical fruit) and cas (a tart fruit used to make a refreshing fruit juice and jellies.)

But developments in energy conservation techniques many be applied to farms in a wider range of climates. To test those methods, Los Diamantes technicians will frequently measure greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, methane and carbon emissions.

Because of its biodiversity, the station contains a wide variety of indigenous plants and animals and germ plasm banks. This allows scientists there to test promising raw materials extracted from native roots and fruits (including bananas) as well as studying management of palmetto and other tropical crops.

Costa Rica's Agriculture Ministry has distributed its experiment stations widely throughout the country in such places as Quepos, Cañas, Potrero Cerrado, Oreamuno and Cartago.

By Rod Hughes ,


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