Case Study Regions 

We have established case study regions in the Mesoamerican rainforest and tropical dry forest (Costa Rica and Guatemala) and in the European mixed forested temperate region (Slovenia and Slovakia).

In Europe, Slovenia and Slovakia are considered important flora and fauna biodiversity hotspots. Slovenia, situated at the junction of four biogeographical regions, has a rich flora of over 3,000 vascular taxa with many endemic species. It has a high share of protected areas and a significant forest cover of 65.2%, providing habitat for small and large carnivores that are important for regulating food web structure and ecosystem functioning. However, the country experienced tree cover loss to agricultural and urban areas at a rate of about 1.2% between 2001 and 2020 ( Slovakia is a small, land-locked country in Central Europe with a mountainous landscape and forests covering 49.2% of the land. These forests are essential for preserving ecological balance and providing habitats to a wide range of species, including large carnivores. The country lost about 1.6% of its forest area between 2000 and 2020.

The Mesoamerican subregion covers about 1% of the planet’s land surface and hosts approximately 10% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. It is a biodiversity hotspot with a high concentration of endemic species, and is considered the 2nd most important source of diversity in the neotropics after the Amazon forest. It is home to vast networks of rainforests and tropical dry forests connecting species movement between the southern and northern American landmasses. According to the Global Forest Watch, Costa Rica lost 11% of its tree cover, including a decrease of 1.8 % of humid primary forest, between 2002 and 2021, primarily due to the expansion of agriculture, livestock production, and illegal logging. In the same period, Guatemala experienced a loss of 6 % of its tree cover with a 21% decline of humid primary forest. Forest restoration efforts in European and Mesoamerican countries have been pursued for decades.

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