Document Sample
					                                                                                 Newsletter #3-August, 2007
                                                                                      Editor: William Shore
                                          DMZ Coalition
Vision: A peaceful Korean peninsula with its Demilitarized Zone‟s biological and cultural resources
preserved for future generations, enriching the environments of both nations.

Objectives: To preserve the cultural and biodiversity assets of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and
surrounding areas in North and South Korea through creation of a transboundary peace and nature park, with
protected areas. This goal is a focal point to: (1) overcome hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, (2) protect
ecological integrity and (3) develop sustainable eco-tourism and related ecosystem services.

The purpose of the DMZ Coalition newsletter is to inform individuals and organizations about activities
occurring in Korea and around the world that have potential impact on preservation of the rich and unique
biological and cultural resources of the DMZ. The Coalition welcomes input to this newsletter.

      MEMBERS                                                 Save the Date!
                                                           DMZ COALITION Meeting
  1. Korean Otter
     Research Center-Dr.                      Thursday October 4, 2007- 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
     Sung-yong Han,            At The Korea Society, 950 Third Avenue, Eighth Floor, New York City
     Director and Ms.                                          Lunch will be served.
     Kyung-ja Kwon,
     M.Sc., International Keynote speech by Evans Revere, President of The Korea Society (invited)
     Coordinator,       • Reviews by DMZ Coalition members of their recent activities that relate to Coalition goals, including
                            brief report on June meetings in Seoul and DMZ Forum activities
     Hwacheon, South Discussion of strategies to preserve DMZ ecosystems
     Korea near the DMZ.Discussion and prioritizing of realistic next steps that can be taken by Coalition members-suggestions
     The Center‟s missionwill be sent in advance of the meeting
     is to conserve the• Suggestions of additional Coalition members
     native otter (lutra
                          Please let us know about your plans to attend this important meeting by responding to:
     lutra) on the Korean                              
     peninsula. Currently                                  More Information Will Follow
     the Center is
     preparing strategies                COALITION NEWS
     for conservation of
     otters in the DMZ.
     Contact: Dr. Han at
  2. Korean Federation for
1. According to Republic of Korea (ROK) government representatives at the June 4 International
   Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) DMZ conference in Seoul, disposition of the DMZ
   is under active consideration in South Korea, now that six-party talks on nuclear disarmament
   are proceeding. At least two DMZ-related plans are being prepared.
2. Statements by ROK officials and KEI at the IAIA conference (more details below) support
   protection of DMZ Ecosystems but warn of development pressures, suggesting that protection
   of DMZ ecosystems will require vigilance.
3. Through satellite imagery, a great deal already is known about flora and fauna in the DMZ,
   confirming its environmental value for the two Koreas.

North Korea
Anbyon Project on Bird Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture, Community Development. In
2005, the DMZ Forum, with scientists from Russia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the two Koreas
developed a program to assure food for endangered birds in an important flyway near Anbyon,
North Korea. The project will provide farmers in those areas with organic farming assistance and
local communities with economic development skills. Project liaison with North Korea is provided
by Kosima Weber-Liu of Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP), an international
environmental organization headquartered in Beijing, which has established an environmental
library in North Korea. The project was officially approved by North Korea. Some funds have been
received from the Turner Foundation and International Crane Foundation. We welcome
suggestions of additional sources for the $397,000 needed. Dr. Chong Jong Ryol, of North Korean
heritage living in Japan, retired Dean of the Faculty of Education at Korea University in Tokyo, is
going to Pyongyang in August and September and will meet with Kosima in Beijing. Dr. Han San-
Hoon, a South Korean scientist and Coalition friend, is working on re-introducing the Crested Ibis
into Korea and provided some travel funds for Dr. Chong.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) provides assistance to four large North Korean
cooperative farms to increase their productivity with efficient equipment and to help find optimum
planting schedules and fertilizer alternatives at 3 farms in the western coastal “rice basket” and one
in the eroded foothills 75 miles NE of Pyongyang. They also cooperate with 3 agricultural research
stations there and have arranged for North Korean farmers to visit Iowa and China.

A Workshop on U.S.-North Korea University-Based Scientific Collaboration occurred on
May 22, 2007 in Arlington, Virginia. It was organized by the U.S. Civilian Research &
Development Foundation (CRDF) and Syracuse University (SU), with the American Association
for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They addressed the potential of expanding standards-
based scientific cooperation between U.S. and North Korean universities. With funding from the
Richard Lounsbery Foundation, 50 attendees came from nine U.S. universities, foundations, U.S.
government, congressional staff and non-governmental organizations. The workshop provided an
overview of existing US/DPRK scientific cooperation and current legal issues associated with
scientific cooperation and a discussion on funding future collaborations. CRDF, SU and AAAS
have agreed to work in partnership to advance the many suggestions developed at the workshop.

Time for DMZ Planning

Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2007: “If the disarmament process proceeds, the Bush administration
hopes to start discussing a formal peace treaty with Pyongyang by year end,” says Christopher Hill,
the assistant secretary of state leading Washington's talks with North Korea.

Gyeonggi Province is doing a master plan for the DMZ: Dr. Eun-Jin Park of Gyeonggi Research
Institute: “We just started the project for a master plan of DMZ Park, which will go on until July
next year. Gyeonggi Province wants to take action to establish a DMZ Peace Park for ecosystem
conservation and sustainable development, including eco-tourism in its buffer areas… [We] need to
find what the local government can do and what system and real shape should be embodied for
sustainable development in buffer areas and conservation of strictly protected DMZ ecosystems. I
hope that planning and designing a DMZ Park can smoothly proceed with consensus, which is
possible by active, open discussion and networks of all DMZ stakeholders. We can discuss holding
an international conference for a DMZ Ecological Peace Park.”

International Conference on DMZ Conservation

On June 4, 2007, in Seoul, a Pre-Conference Event of the International Association of Impact
Assessment (IAIA) Annual Conference co-sponsored by The DMZ Forum and the Korea
Environment Institute (KEI) produced the following information relevant to preserving the DMZ

Official Recognition of DMZ Ecosystems Importance and Threats to Them. Chea-hoan Lim,
Director, Nature Policy Division, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea: “…The DMZ and
its bordering regions have been an ecological treasure trove, full of invaluable flora and fauna,
resulting from limited human impact in the area for more than 50 years.” The DMZ has “abundant
biodiversity, more than any other region in the nation: 97.4% consists of forest and grassland.”
Between Mt. Keumgang in North Korea and Mt. Seorak in South Korea, there is “near primary
forest vegetation.” Partial surveys confirmed about 2,700 wildlife species, including 67
endangered—30% of all South Korean endangered species. The Southern part of the DMZ is rated
“High preservation value” on the (ROK) National Environmental Zoning Map. It is an
internationally renowned bird migration site, with “outstanding wetlands and vegetation.” About a
tenth of the world‟s cranes winter on the Cheorwon Plain.

The Ministry of Environment has selected the DMZ ecosystem along with the Baektu Mountain
Range and various small islands and coastal regions as the three core regions in the „Korean
Peninsula Ecological Network‟ established in December 2002....However, with the cooperative
atmosphere between the two Koreas in recent years, development projects are expected to abound
in the DMZ and the bordering regions. Therefore, for the purpose of environmental conservation
and sustainable use of the DMZ and its bordering regions, a detailed and comprehensive
management system is necessary in order to control various development efforts to be undertaken
in this area and to ensure conservation in the areas of high value of conservation.”

Natural environment surveys and the National Environmental Zoning Map were prepared in 2002-
2004. “A Master Plan for the Conservation of Ecosystems in the DMZ and its Bordering Regions
[Commissioned by the President was] delivered at a Cabinet meeting” August 2005 by the Ministry
of Environment. A National Council of Master Plan for DMZ Ecosystem Conservation was set in

September 2005 by the Office for Government Policy Coordination. A five year research program
was initiated, dividing the area into five sections, but the UN Command Armistice Commission
halted the DMZ portion; the program continues in the CCZ. “Designation of the Scope and
Boundaries of Wetland Protection Areas” research is on-going and due for completion in
December 2007.

“Fundamental Directions” of the Master Plan--before reunification--are to conduct ecosystem
surveys, “promote a Master Plan for Biological Resources Conservation” and designation of a
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve by both Koreas. We will work with the Ministries of Unification and
National Defense and the UN to try to gain DMZ access to do regular surveys so selected areas can
be designated for legal protection, e.g., the four estuaries of the Han River. One or two areas
“surrounding the CCZ” would be designated “protection areas during 2007 and 2008.” Using
existing environmental review systems, we will “contrive measures for minimizing degradation of
the natural environment from development plans…” A “Natural Environment National Trust
Corporation” was set up in March 2007 that should acquire areas with outstanding ecosystems in
the DMZ and bordering areas. An “ecosystem conservation cooperation fund” is available to pay
for restoration of degraded sites.

After reunification, the intent is to maintain the DMZ as a “natural reserve” for two years
while “a master plan for biological resources conservation” is prepared. “…keeping the
entire DMZ subject to the conservation of ecology and scenic views,” and identifying the
“conservation value of each part for differentiated management….” We will “promote the
balance of development and conservation in the bordering regions…”

Now two railroad lines and two highways have cut through the DMZ. There is increasing pressure
to develop the DMZ, and the Ministry of National Defense is advocating reduction of the Civilian
Control Zone, from 15 km to 10 km below the demarcation line to promote activities there. ROK
has made various proposals to DPRK about using the DMZ, including a City of Peace and joint
investigation of ecosystems. “A groundbreaking ceremony of the Peace Park in the DMZ took
place in Inje, Kangwon Province, in May 2006.”

A government task force for DMZ ecosystem conservation should bring together government,
private sector and academia “to work in a concerted effort for conservation and utilization of the
DMZ ecosystem.” The public should be educated about the DMZ‟s environmental value through a
“local ecology center.” Mr. Lim recommended the following actions: Ministry of Maritime Affairs
and Fisheries should promote the designation of an “International Marine Peace Park;” Ministry of
Administration should do a land survey of the southern half of the DMZ; Ministry of National
Defense should include DMZ ecosystem value in officer training; and the Office for Government
Policy Coordination should “operate the National Council of Master Plan for DMZ Ecosystem
Conservation.” Bills are pending in the ROK National Assembly to designate DMZ areas for the
reunification economy and tourism. “In preparation for the reunification, measures for preserving
the ecosystem are called for. The DMZ represents valuable natural resources to be passed down to
future generations after reunification through strict preservation efforts.”

Hoi-Seong Jeong, President, Korean Environmental Institute, and E-sook Yoon, Kent State
University, “Northeast Asia Ecological Security and DMZ Conservation”: "The DMZ is a unique

and remarkable part of the Northeast Asian ecosystem, and an eco-laboratory to present how nature
reclaims itself without human intervention. However, is a daunting policy challenge for South
Korea to find a way to achieve sustainable development of the DMZ by grappling with the real
conflicts between conservation and development…The most necessary thing to do is to implement
joint ecological cooperation between North and South Korea to [find out how] we should preserve
in the DMZ,” restricting interactions in the DMZ “to several designated places.”

Kim Jung Wk, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, “Current
Environmental Issues in South Korea”: Korean tradition was very protective of the environment,
but the Japanese exploited Korean forests when they annexed the peninsula in 1910 and decreased
standing timber by 70% by 1945. The Korean War further depleted forests to just over 5% of what
existed in 1910. Postwar governments ignored environmental protection in favor of
industrialization. Even today, energy consumption per GNP is the highest of all OECD nations
(even Mexico City), 50% above the OECD average. Per capita, energy consumption exceeds
wealthier Germany and Japan. While other industrialized countries have been decreasing pollution,
emissions in South Korea continue to rise—except for sulfur dioxide, which has been decreasing
since 1991 but is still double Japan‟s emissions even though Japan produces 12 times South Korean
output. “The South Korean government has continued planning of growth-oriented economic
development without giving much thought to the environment.” Plans to build on or farm most of
the mudflats on the West Coast would be part of a West Coast reclamation project that would
reduce “coastal lines by half.”

“The Saeman‟geum reclamation project, the biggest of its the world, is now under
construction…jeopardizing one of a few estuarine tidal flats left in South Korea.” Expansion of
Inchon airport would further erase mudflats. Highways are under construction that would allow
people to get from anywhere to anywhere in South Korea in 6 hours—-the highest highway density
in the world. The average South Korean car travels 26,000 KM/year compared to U.S. cars‟
with 19,000—-a result of very wide urban expressways and low-priced downtown parking.
Meanwhile, the government also is building high-speed trains and airports. The largest coal power
plant in the world is under construction. But the public is concerned about environmental
degradation: In 1995 and 1996 surveys, 57.1% of respondents called environmental problems the
most dangerous threat to Korea‟s future-and expected it to get worse.

Dr. P. J. Puntenney, Environmental and Human Systems Management, “The Way forward for
Human Sustainability, Environmental Education, Engagement and Sustainability”: ROK “has
developed a number of strategic environmental plans….[and] has continually implemented, revised
and created strategies for sustainable development since Rio….There are already in place
provisions for Biodiversity, Climate Change, international cooperation, partnerships, and multi-
stakeholder dialogue, globally, regionally and within the country.” (citing: International Institute
for Sustainable Development, “Analysis of National Strategies for Sustainable Development:
Republic of Korea Case Study”) (May 2007)

Jin-Oh Kim, PhD candidate, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin and staff of
KEI, “ResNet Analysis for Area Prioritization for the Conservation of the DMZ and CCZ”: Kim
uses two GIS devices, ResNet and MaxNet, to learn about DMZ ecology. He suggests that these
GIS tools can be used to chart the relationship of human activities and species distribution. He

identifies as priority areas to protect: (1) rice paddies, wetlands and plains of the west and mid west
areas of the DMZ and CCZ; (2) far eastern portions linking Mt. Keumgang and Mt. Seorak; and (3)
southern areas of east and mid-east CCZ. He urges speedy identification of preservation priorities
because the DMZ “may face environmental destruction” when it is open to development. The threat
comes from the dense population of South Korea and the proximity of the Seoul metropolitan
population of 11 million—only 64 km away, and the environmental degradation that already has
happened in South Korea. To avoid development on ecologically valuable land, “South Korea is
laying the groundwork for the designation of the DMZ as a „transboundary biological preservation
area‟ in conjunction with UNESCO” in cooperation with North Korea.

“The environmental quality of the DMZ is significantly threatened by rapid urban development
occurring in the CCZ…. Cities in the CCZ are developing tourism economies, and major
corporations are interested in developing the region…...Even more serious is the damage that is
being done in some valuable habitats, particularly the wetlands, in the CCZ. For example, the
preliminary construction of a railroad and highway stretching across the DMZ and CCZ has already
resulted in the degradation of the Sachon River ecosystem near the eastern CCZ.” On the other
hand, development in the CCZ has been restricted, in part, by over a million landmines, and it has
become “a haven for many plants and animals that were considered extirpated or endangered.”
“In 1962, the government initiated an ambitious nationwide forestation project to rehabilitate most
of the affected forests. But rich diversity was replaced chiefly with conifers, and habitats for many
species gradually disappeared.” A number of endangered plants are in the DMZ along with
(according to the Korean Environmental Protection Agency in 2004): 20 species of birds and 3 of
mammals. Rare birds are threatened not just by loss of wetlands but by chemicals and fertilizers
used on rice fields. Other threats to rare bird habitat: road-building, reed harvesting, river
channelization and deforestation.

Joon Hwan Shin, Jong-Hwan Lim and Jung Hwa Chun, Korea Forest Research Institute, “Unique
Biodiversity and Landscapes of Korea‟s Demilitarized Zone: Overviews”: “The importance of the
DMZ ecosystem in the context of biodiversity conservation is recognized world wide, and the
DMZ is considered a default sanctuary for wildlife…” The DMZ ecosystem is unique, in part
because the army deliberately burned clearings in some areas while other areas were undisturbed
by humans after war destroyed the growth. Abandoned rice fields became wetlands—a wonderful
model to show how nature restores the land without human beings…The DMZ and CCZ are the
area where the northern and southern biota in Korea overlap, resulting in rich biodiversity… Use
of an ecosystem approach is needed to maintain biodiversity and enhance ecosystem function in
anticipation of unification of Korea…Satellite images taken in 1987-89 and 2001 have enabled
scientists to know forest cover and quality, count vertebrates, vegetation, invertebrate and microbe
species, soil and water quality. These images show that North Korea has cut trees in the DMZ for
farming on mountain slopes, causing soil erosion. Remaining forests had healthy ecosystem
connectivity. Patch analysis shows a high degree of connectivity in the DMZ, considerably less in
the CCZ. Three to 20 rare or endangered species were found in each [of the four DMZ areas.]”

Suggested conservation strategies:
1. East coastal region, “…conserve the coastal ecosystem and cultural tourism resources. Restore
   “damaged ecosystems, especially in North Korea [and] enhance the forest ecosystem. Protect
   the lagoons, the only habitat of the black swan.”

2. Mideastern mountainous region: Conserve the area between Mt. Keumgang and Mt. Seorak.
   Restore damaged forests.
3. Inland mid-west region: Primarily “conserve the agricultural and forest ecosystems in
   harmony.” In Cheorwon, bring farming into harmony with habitat management for rare birds.
4. West coast: Restore forests; conserve agriculture and wetlands, especially around the lower
   Imjin River, linked to estuaries and beaches on the west coast. Preserve the large rice fields.
   Restore the forests “to prevent flooding and landslides, conserve biodiversity and provide the
   basis for agriculture and forestry.”
5. West Islands: Biodiversity is the priority. Except for pine and Korean hornbeam forests in
   Daecheong-do Island, “most forests are poor,” requiring restoration for ecosystems. That Island
   also “is a northern limit for Camellia japonica.” Preserving the spotted seal habitat on
   Baekryng-do Island also is recommended.

Jungho Nam, Keunyung Yook, Gusung Lee, Korean Maritime Institute, “Military paradox and
marine peace park in transboundary coastal area on the Korean Peninsula”: The Yellow Sea was
described by World Watch Institute in 1995 as “one of five dying seas.” But it is swimmable and
fishable, without environmental pollution events such as red-tides or eutrophication. The Coast is
important for Black-Faced Spoonbills, Chinese egrets, spotted seals and other endangered species;
26% of the peninsula‟s wetlands of high ecological integrity are along the coast, as are sand-dunes
and “unique gravel-stone beaches [and] submerged sandbars and inlets for nursery and spawning of
marine resources.” Two of three major South Korean fishing grounds are along the coast, but the
catch is rapidly decreasing. An ROK and DPRK working group on fishery cooperation met in 2005
to adopt a fishery agreement and prevent Chinese encroachment, and an International Advisory
Group, including IUCN and UNESCO, was set up in 2006. But there has not been “practical
action,” and no power has been given to a responsible agency to establish a Marine Peace Park.
ROK did initiate surveys and monitoring. “Coastal and marine environmental protection has never
been part of an official agenda at talks between the Koreas” There is “low public awareness” about
a Marine Peace Park and continuing “conflict between development and conservation.”

Young Han Kowon and Young Il Song, KEI, “Environmental Impact Assessment and economic
cooperation for conservation of the DMZ--Pan-Korean perspective”: The DMZ is “a treasure house
of ecosystems…that can be tapped for tourism and teaching historical lessons.” An example of its
natural value: Streams there are of “first quality, pure due to lack of air pollution in the area.” But
already the intrusion of a road and railroad on the east to Mt. Keumgang tourist area and the west to
the Kaesong Industrial Park have probably “affected heavily” the ecosystems of the DMZ. Future
development of factories and cities around the industrial park would cause “serious environmental
impacts in the DMZ as well as the Imjin and Han Rivers.” Around Mt. Keumgang, “if tourists
increase dramatically, frequent operation of buses and trains will be inevitable, maybe causing
disturbance of animals.” And there are four national roads and six local roads, plus two rail lines
that once crossed the central part of the DMZ that might be re-connected.

When the east and west road and rail lines were connected, South Korea performed environmental
impact assessments (EIA). Attention was on connectivity, providing corridors for wildlife and
substituting wetlands and mitigating wetland incursion. “Monitoring of the mitigation ought to be
carried out continuously and the result applied to similar projects in the DMZ.” North Korea
promulgated an Environmental Impact Assessment law in 2005 that can be applied to proposals for

the DMZ, but so far, “we have seldom” been informed of its results. “Detailed regulations of EIA
laws should be specifically reviewed and compared. Next, close cooperation regarding application
of the law is necessary to conserve the DMZ ecosystem…” An overall plan is necessary for
conservation of natural ecosystems and effective use of the DMZ and surrounding areas.”

Ke Chung Kim, Penn State University and Chair, The DMZ Forum, “The DMZ Conservation in
Global Climate Change”: As the 10th or 11th largest economy in the world, South Korea cannot
escape the challenge of Climate Change. The Yale-Columbia Environmental Sustainability Index
“rated the two Koreas in the bottom range,” 122nd of 146 for South Korea, 146 for North Korea.
“DMZ conservation is the foundation of Pan-Korean environmental renewal…..DMZ ecosystems
have kept large parts of Korea‟s native biodiversity intact.” “Korea‟s conservation strategy…
requires massive restoration of habitats and rehabilitation of biodiversity throughout the peninsula.
As the DMZ‟s biodiversity represents 37-67% of Korean biodiversity with numerous endemic
species of plants and animals, the DMZ ecosystems provide a sole source of germ plasm for
native species…The DMZ ecosystems offer ready-made nature reserves, clearly delimited,
demilitarized between two borders and protected by military control…..These nature reserves are
already well defined by geology, soil topography, forest/vegetation and land-use for different
classes of habitats and ecosystems under various levels of protection. They are therefore ready to
be formally organized into a system of permanent protected areas….administered by a joint
commission….of North and South Korean representatives along with distinguished personalities
and scientists from around the world…Korea‟s biodiversity conservation including the preservation
of the DMZ biota is tenuous at best and continually threatened by economic development forces.
Until it becomes an official government policy with strong public support, no efforts should be
spared in promoting biodiversity conservation and educating the public.”

Saleem H. Ali, University of Vermont, “Conservation Warriors: Transforming the Military‟s Role
in International Security”: The military should be educated about the environment “from the start,”
meshing military technology with civilian and making conservation a security imperative. The
Indian, Bulgarian, Venezuelan and U.K. armies are examples.

Anna Grichting, Harvard Graduate School of Design, “Future Opportunities for Nature
Conservation and Environmental Planning”: The buffer zone between Turks and Greeks in Cyprus
is very similar to the DMZ. It is administered by the UN. Last year, the UN Development Program
presented a photo exhibition, Nature Without Boundaries, showing that “Cyprus is unified by a set
of interconnected ecosystems, which can only be protected by a single coherent policy.” An
environmental peace park can be a “catalyst for reintegration of the divided communities, backbone
of a reconstruction process, a vehicle for an innovative…environmental landscape design.” The
“process of constructing a Peace Park is proposed as a means of inserting a positive dimension to
the solution of the Cyprus problem, addressing conflict resolution through environmental issues..”

John Mickelson, “Ecological, Habitat and Biological Assessment: A Geospatial Approach”:
“…Current geospatial systems, which include GIS, remote sensing and a wide range of land
process, hydrological, population, climate and ecological forecasting systems have evolved to a
high degree over the past decade...But there is a gap between this capability and “a comprehensive
data and information system.” Geospatial systems can provide data on geology and soils,
geomorphology, hydrology, marine, coastal resources and wetlands, elevation, transportation,

population and cultural areas, stresses and threats to systems, e.g., pollution sources and impacts,
land use/land cover, including seasonal change, historic trends, climate, flooding, droughts, aquatic
systems and vegetation. From these data, detailed portrayals of ecosystems can be established. One
can project back to assess potential natural vegetation relationships and model forward to assess hot
spots and important conservation areas.

June 2007 Coalition Member Meetings in Seoul
Coalition members Mike Finley, Seung-ho Lee, Ke Chung Kim and Hall Healy attended the
International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) conference in Seoul in June. During that
visit, they met with various ROK government officials and NGO representatives. Below is a brief
report of those meetings.

Mr. Jae-Joung Lee, ROK Minister of Unification: He expressed support for DMZ preservation
and suggested that Mt. Keumgang (Diamond Mountain) in North Korea could potentially be a
model for similar activities near the DMZ. He was optimistic about the 6-party talks and recent
inter-Korean negotiations. The Minister had presided over the May 17th re-opening ceremony of the
inter-Korean rail links and roads, where he indicated that the rail link was symbolic of the
bloodlines running between the two Koreas. In the meeting, Mike Finley suggested that preserving
the DMZ‟s natural and cultural resources can become “one of the best gifts” the Korean people can
give each other.

Chea-hoan Lim, Director, Nature Policy Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of
Environment (MOE): He reported that many people say the DMZ has to be preserved and that all
stakeholders need to be heard. He said that stumbling blocks to DMZ preservation are local
governments and residents who feel victimized. An ecological study is underway to determine the
highest value areas. MOE wants to develop DMZ guidelines. The Ministry of Culture is developing
programs for DMZ visitors to learn its value. In 1-2 months there will be a meeting of various
government ministries representing political, military and biological interests to discuss the future
of the DMZ.

Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM): Representatives of KFEM,
including President Byung-ok Ahn, outlined several challenges facing DMZ preservation:
persuading the governments of both Koreas; persuading local people, some of whom feel deprived
of an urban standard of living and are concerned about property rights, who will need to see the
tangible benefits of preservation. Many local governments have or are creating DMZ area
development plans but have not yet announced them.

Former Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Mr. Hak-kyu Sohn: Governor Sohn feels that
preserving the DMZ is a way to “give back life out of the destruction” that the Korean War created.
He recently visited North Korea with the Standing Committee of the ROK Labor Party and is a
candidate in the upcoming elections for President of the ROK. While governor, Mr. Sohn
supported large rice cultivation project in North Korea and two DMZ Forum conferences in Seoul.

Korea DMZ Peace Forum

The June 5, 2007 Forum in Seoul was primarily organized by concerned citizens of Kangwon
Province. The Forum recognizes that the DMZ “has now become a national treasure which a
number of rare animals and plant species inhabit…..ecological features…intact without being
shredded by human beings.” Co-chairs of the Forum said: “Through the Forum, we plan to create
an opportunity to discuss and enhance the values of the DMZ that are currently gathering attention
from worldwide-ecological, cultural and as a resource….”

Won-Wong Kim, Chair, Unification, Foreign Affairs & Trade Committee: “We should seek a
sustainable development plan that includes ecological preservation and peace settlement….I hope
the Korea DMZ Peace Forum will play a leading role in highlighting the value…of the DMZ, the
symbol of world peace and ecological treasures and building national consensus regarding the
subject.” Officers of the Forum are Professor Geun-Sool Kwon, Hanyang University Dept. of
Journalism; the Governor of Kangwon and the President of Kangwon Development Research
Institute; Chair of the World Peace Forum, a novelist, a Buddhist Priest, Secretary-General of the
Korean National Commission for UNESCO and Chair of the Kangwon Province South & North
Exchange Cooperative Committee.

Environmental News
Korea Times, April 11: a photo and five-line caption reporting that HSBC Korea and the Korean
Federation for Environmental Movement have agreed to cooperate in projects to protect South
Korea's wetlands, including education programs for ordinary citizens to become "wetland
Korea Times, April 13: A Yonhap report: South Korea and China recently signed an agreement to
protect birds migrating between the two countries -- the third such agreement for Korea, following
others with Russia (1994) and Australia (2006). The agreement lists 337 species; bans hunting,
capturing, killing or selling them; and calls for protection of their "habitats and environs necessary
for the birds' survival."

The Korea Herald, June 21, 2007: “When will Korea protect its wildlife?” by Tim Edelsten, a
conservationist and environmental campaigner: “In July this year, Korea will host the next
RAMSAR convention -- an international body dedicated to protecting biodiversity around the
world -- in Changwon. Yet even as a signatory, Korea has one of the worst records among
developed nations (and probably in Asia) of failing to conserve its natural heritage. 2006/7 has
witnessed perhaps the most shocking chapter in Korea‟s ongoing pursuit of crass environmental
destruction: in April last year the Saeman‟geum reclamation was hurriedly completed, the largest
ecological destruction of its type in world history. Today its formerly fertile, vast tidal mudflats are
a barren wasteland littered with junk, its stagnant water peppered with poisonous algal blooms.
Thousands of people who once prospered on its rich harvest of seafood now have no livelihood,
and at least two species of bird appear doomed to extinction as a result. Will Korea now have to
import seafood from China, I wonder. And why? To make way for yet another proposed golf

“At the wildlife-rich and formerly picturesque Sosan lakes, unbridled development has begun
apace, already scarring one of the country‟s last valuable and species-rich wetlands--a place which
had real potential to become Korea‟s first substantial and functional nature reserve. Next month,

the final remaining section of tidal flat at Songdo, Inchon, is to become a construction site.
Simultaneously, the transformation of Songsan-po on Cheju Island into a water sports resort is
plotted; both developments certain to extinguish the local populations of black-faced spoonbills --
an extremely rare, globally endangered and exquisite bird to which Korea is virtually its last refuge
on Earth. In most developed nations, the mere sighting of one of these birds would be enough to
ensure its habitat was automatically granted protection by law. End to end, Korea‟s once charming
streams and rivers are daily banked and diked into dry, lifeless, concrete troughs that can no longer
support insects, frogs or birds, let alone fish. Likewise, all reeds and waterside vegetation are
routinely removed wholesale from the edges of ponds and lakes and replaced with endless seating
rows for sport fishermen. Be surprised if they catch any living thing from such degraded
waterways. New conservation and planning permission laws, genuine environmental impact
assessments, and a new approach to respecting the natural environment, fauna and biodiversity are
urgently required. Otherwise, reckless development, needless "make work" projects, and big
business will soon totally destroy what little is left of the nation‟s natural heritage.” Visit

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please address comments to: Bill Shore-914-922-


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