KOREA –FOREST

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 large-scale reforestation.

KOREA’S FOREST DISTRIBUTION

The Korean forests are classified into warm temperate, cool-temperate, and boreal forests. Around 85% of them are identified as cool temperate forest.

 

WARM TEMPERATE FORESTS

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 from 6
to 13. 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

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 platyphylla.

POLICIES/ISSUES

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.

 

 

REPUBLIC OF KOREA – GEOGRAPHY
KOREA –FOREST
SOUTH KOREA WOOD PRODUCTS TRADE OVERVIEW
THE GOVERNMENT ROLE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
KOREA’S FURNITURE INDUSTRY
SOUTH KOREA – DEFORESTATION
 

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