To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information

Dem.People's Rep. of Korea


  General Description   The Mount Kuwol Biosphere Reserve, situated on the west coast of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and 100 kilometres south-east of Pyongyang, consists of a 954 meter-high mountain, adjacent coastal wetlands, lagoons and river estuaries, and agricultural areas. Both the core area and the buffer zone are part of the Mount Kuwol Nature Reserve, which was designated in 1976. The main objective of the core area is to protect the old typical forest ecosystem of Korea, which survived the damages of the Korea War. The presence of both pristine and rehabilitated forests makes Mount Kuwol an important area to study the ecological changes and effects of forest rehabilitation as well as the associated biodiversity. Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Forsythia ovata and other native plants are protected here. The only human activities in the core area are sightseeing and visits to the Woljong Temple, an old historic relic. There are limited human activities in the buffer zone, and the transition area, which includes forests, plain areas, wetlands and many rivers, is where most economic activities take place. The wetland, which includes the coastal Unryul Migratory Birds Reserve, play an important conservation role as habitats for shore birds and critical areas for many migratory bird species of north-east Asia such as black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor), Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes) and red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis).

The Biosphere Reserve constitutes one of the most important rice production areas of DPR Korea. The conservation of essential ecological and hydrological functions of the Mount Kuwol ecosystems is important for the maintenance of sustainable rice production and related aquaculture and fishery. The foot of Mount Kuwol is rich in medicinal herbs, which are widely used for Koryo medicine, the traditional medicine of Korea.

Some 70,000 people live in the Biosphere Reserve, which is also an area of recreation and attracts more than 500,000 tourists annually, mainly due to its close distance from Pyongyang. Mount Kuwol is an area of cultural importance in Korea. There are many cultural and historical relics such as fortresses, temples, historical houses and tombs, related to the early development of Korea as well as to the origins of Buddhism, a heritage of importance to conserve.The management plan of the Biosphere Reserve will be incorporated in the general blueprint for land construction under the State Plan. Environmental protection aims mainly at afforestation of the transition area and the prevention of soil erosion.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Temperate forest characterized by Abies nephrolepis, Picea jezoensis, Eichornia umbellata etc.; agricultural areas with Castanea crenata, Pinus koraiensis, Fagara schinifolia etc.; Wetlands dominated by Suaeda japonica, Phragmis communis and Carex dispalata.
  Location   38°20'00"N; 125°16'50"E (Central point)
38°24' to 38°40'30"N; 125°00'20" to 125°29'50"E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   52,715
  Core area(s)   1,245
  Buffer zone(s)   2,940
  Transition area(s) when given   48,530
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +954
  Year designated   2004
  Administrative authorities   MAB National Committee of DPRK
  Brief description   The core area is established for conservation and research on genetic resources, and the functioning and dynamics of forest ecosystems. The buffer zone that surrounds the core area covers forest ecosystems and agricultural regions, and research, limited human activities, tourism and education are the main human activities here. The transition area covers forests, arable lands and coastal wetland areas and sustainable use of natural resources especially sustainable agricultural development is promoted here.

Abiotic and biological studies and monitoring; Introduction of high-yielding plants on a trial basis to increase the living standards of local people; Cultivation of salt-resisting plants in tideland paddy fields for study purposes. There are plans to establish the area as a model for eco-agriculture and eco-forestry.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Biology, monitoring/methodologies, plants.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, economically important species, forestry, livelihood measures, modelling.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address    
MAB National Committee of DPRK
Dem.People's Rep. of Korea
  Telephone   (850.2) 18111 ext. 3818544
  Fax   (850.2) 381 2100

Last updated: 02/03/2007

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO