Prior to 1940 healthy, biodiverse forests covered about 75% of Costa Rica. By 1987, however, more than half of Costa Rica's rainforests had been lost to deforestation by logging and agriculture. Fortunately, the Costa Rican government decided to act to preserve and restore the country's remaining rainforests. They created laws banning deforestation without government approval, and created ‘payments for ecological services’ where Costa Ricans receive financial support in return for helping restore and preserve forests. Thanks to these ambitious policies, Costa Rica became the first tropical country to entirely reverse deforestation — today, around 60% of the country has returned to forest cover and 25% of the country's total land mass has been converted into protected nature preserves. This has helped to turn Costa Rica into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America, and ecotourism into a major money-maker for the country's economy.