Ecological Issues in a Changing World

pp 355-383

Baekdudaegan, The Central Axis Of The Korean Peninsular: The Path Toward Management Strategies Regarding To Its Concepts

  • Yeong-Kook ChoiAffiliated withNational Territorial Planning and Environment, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS)

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It is not known well when the concept of the “Baekdudaegani” was formed and defined. Other similar concepts could be construed as being used in some old literatures, considering the fact that Koreans have traditionally treated territory configuration very important. We can find one evident record (Lim 1999) in Goryeosaii, which shows that the terrestrial stratum from Baekdu Mountain was then recognized as a kind of “flowing” of national territory. In the Joseon period, Lee Ik(1681-1763) with a literary name of Seongho and Shin Gyeong-jun(1712-1781) with a literary name of Yeoam suggested more concrete conception of the “Baekdudaegan” in Baekdujeonggan and Sansugo and Sangyeongpyoiii, respectively. From the fact that many literatures about the Baekdudaegan have been published after the mid of Joseon period, we find out that people have been interested in national territory and tried to formulate a general system of mountain ranges of the Baekdudaegan since the 18th century. The Baekdudaegan means the contiguous line of terrestrial stratum from Baekdu Mountain to Jiri Mountain without crossing valleys or streams (Yang 2002). It is the central axis of the Korean peninsula, which is connected from Baekdu Mountain, as well as the backbone of mountain ranges. The Baekdudaegan is based on Koreans’ traditional conception of geography, which highlights connected configuration of mountains as shown on the premise of ‘mountain ranges divide streams,’ rather than typical geographical conception of a mountain range. In this regard, regional boundaries and characteristics of the districts on the Baekdudaegan are identical with the mountain ridge. The Baekdudaegan has affected dominantly the formation of common and different features of administrative, cultural and living style between regions. It exits in substance in terms of geography and no doubt in spirit of the Korean people as well.