Korea is a
heavily forested country, with 65% (6.5M hectares) of its total
area covered with forest. Despite this, Korea is not yet
self-sufficient in wood. To large extent, this is because of a
lack of mature timber. The Korean government has initiated a
forest policy which will result in a well stocked forest. As
part of this policy, and in an effort to reduce abusive
harvests, there are now restrictions on cutting that apply to
forest product companies and individuals. As a result of the new
forest policies, the total standing volume increased to 257
mill. cbm in 1984, 70 % higher than 10 years ago (152M m³).
Korean forests were badly degraded through the first half of the
20th Century, due to: logging under Japanese occupation; intense
demands for fuel wood; and war damage during the Korean
conflict. Between 1961 and 1995, however, stocked forest land
increased from 4M hectares to 6.3M hectares, as a result of a
KOREA’S FOREST DISTRIBUTION
Korean forests are classified into warm temperate,
cool-temperate, and boreal forests. Around 85% of them are
identified as cool temperate forest.
The warm temperate forests are in the south coastal region
including Jeju Island
and a number of smaller islands where the annual mean
temperature is higher than 14℃.
Broadleaved evergreen forests are common in this region, but due
to over-exploitation and forest fires, majority of natural
forests has turned into deciduous, mixed, or coniferous forests.
Dominant species include Quercus actua, Castanopsis cuspidata,
and Camelia japonica.
COOL TEMPERATE FORESTS
The cool temperate forests exist north of the warm temperate
zone up to Gangwon, Gyeonggi, and Hamgyeong provinces excluding
the mountainous highlands. The annual mean temperature ranges
Broadleaved deciduous trees are predominant in the area,
however, most of them are destroyed by agricultural activities
leaving only pines forests. Main species are Quercus spp.,
Zelkova spp., Fraxinus spp., Pinus densiflora and P. koraiensis.
Sub-boreal forests cover the northern end of the Korean
peninsula and some high mountainous area where the annual mean
temperature is 5℃
and lower. Most of the forests indigenous to this region were
coniferous, however they were vastly destroyed by
over-exploitation and fires. Currently, mixed forests are
widespread in this region and dominant species include Abies spp.,
Picea spp., Larix spp., Juglans mandshurica, and Betula
The goal of
the current silvicultural treatments that are being applied is
the logical and efficient management of Korea's
forest resource. As part of this objective, the government has
realized the importance of mechanization in forest practice and
has initiated forest road construction in most regions.
Ownership of the forest is divided into two types: national
forest, and other. National forest is mainly controlled by
government organizations and institutes (such as the Forestry
Administration) This area represents 1.4M ha, or 21.4% of the
total forest area. Other forest ownership can be also separated
into two groups by owner: public or private. Between these two
types, the majority is private (71.0%). Regardless of forest
type all management of forests in mountainous regions are
controlled by government policy.