Environmental Management

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 1–10

Cranes, Crops and Conservation: Understanding Human Perceptions of Biodiversity Conservation in South Korea’s Civilian Control Zone


DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9568-1

Cite this article as:
Kim, JO., Steiner, F. & Mueller, E. Environmental Management (2011) 47: 1. doi:10.1007/s00267-010-9568-1


South Korea’s Civilian Control Zone (CCZ), a relatively untouched area due to tight military oversight since the end of Korean War, has received considerable attention nationally and internationally for its rich biodiversity. However, the exclusion of local communities from the process of defining problems and goals and of setting priorities for biodiversity conservation has halted a series of biodiversity conservation efforts. Through qualitative research, we explored CCZ farmers’ views of key problems and issues and also the sources of their opposition to the government-initiated conservation approaches. Key findings include the farmers’ concerns about the impact of conservation restrictions on their access to necessary resources needed to farm, wildlife impacts on the value of rice and other agricultural goods they produce, and farmers’ strong distrust of government, the military, and planners, based on their experiences with past conservation processes. The findings regarding farmers’ perceptions should prove useful for the design of future participatory planning processes for biodiversity conservation in the CCZ. This case highlights how conservative measures, perceived to be imposed from above—however scientifically valuable—can be undermined and suggests the value that must be placed on communication among planners and stakeholders.


Biodiversity Conservation planning Trans-boundary reserve Focus group Local value 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin-Oh Kim
    • 1
  • Frederick Steiner
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Mueller
    • 2
  1. 1.Metropolitan Design CenterUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.School of ArchitectureThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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