Palo Verde National Park
|Palo Verde National Park|
Marshlands flanking the Tempisque River in Palo Verde National Park.
|Governing body||National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC)|
The Palo Verde National Park, in Spanish Parque Nacional Palo Verde is a National Park of Costa Rica, part of the Tempisque Conservation Area, that contains much of the area of the valley of the Tempisque River and covers an area of 45,492 acres in Guanacaste Province, 30 km west of Canas. The surrounding region is mostly tropical dry forests, and the Park concentrates on conserving vital floodplain, marshes, limestone ridges, and seasonal pools from the encroachment of civilization which was putting the ecology of the area at risk.
The park has a Ranger Station which open for visitors from 8am to dusk, and has potable water and restrooms. There is also a Biological Station on the site operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies. A major feature of the park is the density and variety of bird species, a major factor in the creation of the reserve, due in part to its diverse ecology, with 15 different topographical zones from evergreen forests to mangrove swamps. Birds spotted regularly in the park include great curassows, scarlet macaws, white ibis, roseate spoonbills, anhingas, jabirus, and wood storks among many others.
During the dry season water is scarce in other parts of the country. Due to this, many birds flock to the park and its river basin. Parajos Island, which is located in the middle of the Tempisque River, is usually a great place to spot birds. This island is the largest nesting site for the black-crowned night-herons in Costa Rica.
The park protects one of the most endangered ecosystems. It is one of the last remaining tropical dry rainforests that once covered most of Central America. Tropical dry rainforests now exist in less than 0.1% of their original size and are considered to be the most endangered ecosystems in the tropics.
Palo Verde National Park was declared a Wildlife Refuge during the 1970s because of over 60 different species of birds used the Laguna, or wetland, as a migratory stop. There were once 35,000 black bellied whistling ducks, 25,000 blue winged teal, and several hundred migrating ducks during the dry season  Later the park was declared a national park and operated under the government agency called MINAE, Ministry of the Energy and Environment. In the 1990s, the park was put on the RAMSAR list of wetlands of International Importance and also on the Montreux Record 
- Gillespie, T. W.; Grijalva Farris (2000). "Diversity, composition, and structure of tropical dry forest in Central America". Plant Ecology Vol. 147: 37–47.
- McCoy, M.B.; Rodrigues, J.M. (1994). "Cattail (Typha domingensis) eradication methods in the restoration of a tropical, seasonal, freshwater marsh". Global wetlands: Old world and new.
- "Ramsar Convention on Wetlands". Retrieved November 25, 2010.
Media related to Palo Verde National Park at Wikimedia Commons
- Palo Verde National Park at Costa Rica National Parks