, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 3-15
Date: 19 Mar 2005

Status and ecological resource value of the Republic of Korea’s De-militarized Zone

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Abstract

This paper explores the status and value of ecological resources found in the De-militarized Zone (DMZ), an area of land separating North and South Korea, in terms of habitats and species. This approach contrasts with a conventional species-driven approach. There have been few surveys of ecological resources in the DMZ due to land mines and security issues. As such, there appear to be a number of less well known habitats and understudied and data deficient species within the DMZ. This paper seeks to improve knowledge of ecological resources within the DMZ by combining and synthesizing the author’s study results with the outcome of surveys of the DMZ conducted by various organizations. The paper also includes ecological mapping results. Conservation value is assessed using priorities identified by a number of Korean and foreign institutions. The conservation value of habitats, particularly of wetlands including peatland, is based on the Ramsar Site criteria, the International Peat Society criteria, and the designation criteria for the UNESCO World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve. As in-depth studies on the functions of DMZ habitats are not available due to the constraints mentioned above, the habitat assessment is inevitably tentative. Species value is based on the IUCN’s Red Data Book (1997). This paper seeks to be used as material contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of the DMZ. In particular, this paper aims to aid in the designation of the DMZ as a World Natural Heritage site through the identification and suggestion of key or prime biodiversity areas within the DMZ. This is completed by using a model suggested by English Nature (UK) based on the aforementioned criteria.