Luis Felipe Arauz is the Minister of Agriculture of Costa Rica. He earned his doctorate in plant pathology from NC State in 1990. Until May 2014, he was a professor of Plant Pathology and Agroecology at the University of Costa Rica and Dean of its College of Agricultural and Food Sciences. Costa Rica has raised its forest cover restoration goals from 22% to 52% – based on innovative policy reforms that aggressively tackle deforestation. The country also introduced the world’s first payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme. Currently, Costa Rica is committed to restoring 500,000 hectares of degraded lands– around 10% of the country’s total land area.