What is INBio?

The National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) of Costa Rica is a private research and biodiversity management center, established in 1989 to support efforts to gather knowledge on the country’s biological diversity and promote its sustainable use. The institute works under the premise that the best way to conserve biodiversity is to study it, value it, and utilize the opportunities it offers to improve the quality of life of human beings.

INBio is a non-governmental, non-profit, public interest organization of civil society that works in close collaboration with different government institutions, universities, the private sector and other public and private organizations, both within and outside Costa Rica.

INBio’s work focuses on the following areas of action:

  • Inventory and Monitoring: This area generates information on the diversity of species and ecosystems found in the country. At present, INBio has a collection of more than 3 million specimens of arthropods, plants, fungi and mollusks, each one duly identified and catalogued. It also generates information on the country’s different ecosystems.
  • Conservation: This area of work utilizes the information generated and administered by INBio in decision-making processes related to the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, both by the public and the private sectors. INBio works closely with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), considering it a strategic partner in the conservation of the country’s protected areas.
  • Communications and education: INBio shares information and knowledge of biodiversity with different segments of the public, with the aim of creating greater awareness of the value of biodiversity. Much of this effort is carried out through INBioparque, a theme park inaugurated in the year 2000, with the aim of bringing families and visitors into closer contact with Costa Rica’s natural resources. In addition, using other modalities, INBio seeks to strengthen the environmental aspects of the actions and decisions of the Costa Rican people.
  • Biodiversity informatics: This area of work develops and applies computer tools to support the processes of generation, administration, analysis and dissemination of information on biodiversity. The information on each specimen in the biodiversity inventory is entered into a database called Atta, which the public may access through INBio’s web site.
  • Bio-prospecting: This initiative seeks sustainable uses and the commercial application of biodiversity resources. INBio has been a pioneer institution in establishing research agreements to study chemical substances, genes, etc., present in plants, insects, marine organisms and microorganisms, which may be utilized by the pharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology, cosmetics, food and agricultural industries.

Although INBio is a national initiative in terms of its sphere of action, it has also become part of an international effort aimed at integrating conservation and development. The application of scientific knowledge on biodiversity to economic activities such as ecotourism, medicine and agriculture, or the development of mechanisms for the charging and payment of environmental services, exemplify this integration effort and form part of the activities that attract the attention of the international community.


To promote a greater awareness of the value of biodiversity as a means to ensure its conservation and improve the quality of life of human beings.
INBio will turn Nature into a central axis of Costa Rican culture, educational processes and competitive strengths; it will constitute a scientific kernel that will guide the use of the natural capital of Costa Rica and will be most prestigious institution in Latin America in its field of action.


  • Commitement
  • Service
  • Transparency
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Equity and Justice
  • Responsibility
  • Innovation and lidership


Photo: Fabio Hidalgo, INBio

Photo: Fabio Hidalgo, INBio

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