Welcoming Speech

HYUN, Syng-IL, Ph.D.

President

Kookmin University

Distinguished delegates, scientists, ladies and gentlemen!

It is my honour to welcome you at the opening of the 'International Workshop on Long-Term Ecological Research and Biodiversity Conservation in East Asia and Pacific Region' held in Seoul, Korea.

First of all, to the guests from abroad, I would like to extend my heartfelt welcome to you in the season of beautiful autumn colors. Climatically, we call this season, as ة, which has the meaning of 'Season of High Clouds and Fat Horses.' For most of the delegates from this region, this phrase may be a very familiar one. I hope you would not only enjoy participating in the workshop, but enjoy the beauty of my country.

As a social scientist, I feel that ecology and social science have common grounds in science, such as the basic methodologies and approaches. I may not go deep into the discussion of the analogy between the two disciplines, ecology and social science, however. In this sense, I might have a background to express my ideas in front of such a pronounced ecologists of the world.

One of the themes of this workshop is LTER, that is Long-Term Ecological Research. Although I am not so much accustomed to the history of LTER, establishing long-term aspects upon any phenomenon either in society or in nature is very important premises to secure sustainability. Especially, in the age of environment, to monitor the change and to predict future development of environmental condition is critically important. We all are aware of the global change of environment with great worry and care. In this aspect, to study the long-term change of ecosystem and establishing networks among the study sites in local, regional and global scales are of critical importance.

It is my knowledge that U.S. have pioneered the development of the global network with the support of National Science Foundation, and Taiwanese ecologists played significant roles in activating the regional networks with the support of National Science Council. It is worth to mention that many Taiwanese scientists participated in this workshop with the enthusiasm to visit the ecologists in Korea, Korea LTER sites, and share the results from LTER. As the LTER Program can be said as an integrated research discipline not only in ecology but also in social science, to establish the adherence among scientists is the key to establish future collaboration among the ecologists and sites in the world.

It is my understanding that Chinese and Japanese has a long history of keeping records over many phenomena in society and nature. I am sure their contribution to the development of LTER network in this region would be a promising one in the future.

I would like point out that one event in Korea LTER is that, by the efforts of Korean LTER Committee, three sites of Forestry Research Institute have already been included in the ILTER network, and more sites are potentially developed by vigorous activities of ecologists and by the supports of authorities such as KOSEF. In addition, the 3rd regional LTER Conference will be held in Korea in October 1999. I believe that this workshop will provide a firm stepping stone for the successful opening of the Conference.

Although I am not so much familar with specific topics in which such scientists as you, the ecological experts, deal with, I do understand the results of LTER activities are fundamental to understanding our unique life-support systems, which is the Earth.

I do understand the results of LTER activities are fundamental to achieving so-called ESSD, environmentally sound and sustainable development, which became a paradigm after Rio Summit. I also know that the word 'sustainable' has the meaning on long-term aspects of life, not only for ourselves but for the future generations.

Many Asian countries have encountered economic crises at this moment. I believe that only long-term perspectives will promise the sustainable economic system, too. We have learned that the long-term perspectives are essential to consistent life in the natural and social world. It may be true, in some sense, that the economic crises at this moment may have been caused because we had been keeping short-term views to every aspect of our lives during the past several decades.

Most of all, I would like to thank the support of KOSEF (Korea Science and Engineering Foundation), which have made it possible to make a first step for the sound initiation of the Long-Term Ecological Research in Korea. At this moment, we expect this workshop will provide the forum to have constructive discussion not only to promote the science of ecology, but to find the ways to protect the environment of our Earth, for which all the people in the world are in deep worries at the moment.

Finally, I wish that all the participants have a great time in science during the workshop period and all the foreign guests have a wonderful stay in this beautiful season in Korea, again. Thank you very much!