A farm can have different purposes depending on its nature and the owners interest. As well as there are productive and development farms, there are also for conservation purposes and they count with a payment program created by the government.

What are conservation farms?

They are farms dedicated to conservation or restoration of specific ecosystems or species, through the protection of natural elements found in each land. 

Fernanda Jimenez, environmental law specialist attorney in Colbs legal studio.


The National Forest Financing Fund (FONAFIFO) was created in the 1990s due to a change in the environmental sector. In order to maintain the endowment of environmental services, it supports the forest production activity by strengthening the capacities of those who provide these services.

Finca en programa de pago bajo servicios ambientales del FONAFIFO
Farm with sections under environmental services with FONAFIFO for oxygen credits in San Carlos, Alajuela. 

The payment program of the government through FONAFIFO, pretends to support in a well rounded way the people with conservations projects giving them all the posible tools. This goes from monetary reward, to trainings and talks.

Which environmental services?

According to the third article of the Forestry Law No. 7575, published in 1996, the services that can be payed by the Fonafifo are:

  • Biodiversity protection.
  • Hybrid resources conservation.
  • Scenic beauty protection.
  • Greenhouse gases mitigation.
Oso Perezoso en finca de Turrialba
Wildlife in ecotourism conservation farm in Turrialba, Cartago. 

This scheme is complete voluntary, because every legal person, owner or tenant of a private domain registered property can participate.

According to the forestry law, there are three modalities of this scheme.

First there are agroforestry systems, which are projects with forestry species trees. On the other hand, reforestation projects are those who have grown forestry species in lands of now to three hundred hectares. And finally, woodland protection.

What is woodland?

It is defined as a native or indigenous ecosystem, intervened or not, regenerated by natural succession or other forestry technics. It occupies a surface from two to three hundred anual hectares.

The main characteristic of a woodland is the presence of mature trees from different ages and species.

How to register?

On the web page of FONAFIFO, you will find a section dedicated to the Appointment Request System. You can scheduled it by:

  • Free calling the 800-FONAFIFO (800-3662 3436).
  • Through the oficial system of FONAFIFO with the URL: sipsa.fonafifo.com
  • And also by visiting a regional office of FONAFIFO.
Finca con vista a Playa Hermosa
Beachfront farm in Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas. 

If you own a farm and want to get the most out of it or would like to acquire one, an environmental conservation scheme might be a great option. Not only is a great monetary investment, but is has many social and environmental benefits as well.