Promotion of Long-Term Ecological Research and Biodiversity Conservation Activities in Korea

Eun-Shik KIM

Kookmin University

College of Forest Science, Department of Forest Resources

Seoul 136-702 KOREA

Tel.: + (82-2) 910-4814; Fax. : + (82-2) 910-4809

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While sound management of ecosystems is a central theme, depletion of resources and degradation of biodiversity in nature will be the biggest challenge for the discipline of ecosystem management in the 21st century. As was put in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, maintaining sustainability of ecosystem became a key factor for sound management of ecosystems in the next century. As the sustainability is a matter of concern in the future and sound management of ecosystems can be attained from the application of ecological knowledge to ecosystems, ecosystems should be managed on long-term basis, where the rationale for carrying out long-term ecological research is sought.

Throughout this paper, the author tries to maintain that long-term ecological researches whose results secure comparability in the dimension of time and space will provide a basis for sound management of ecosystem in the 21st century. Special emphases will be placed upon the sound management of ecosystem for the promotion of Long-Term Ecological Research and biodiversity conservation activities in Korea


The concepts of long-term ecological research and biodiversity conservation are relatively new to ecologists in Korea. Very few studies on LTER were carried out in the past, which is ascribed to the unstability of the society. In the past, continued social disturbances including Korean War deprived the people of the rationale for long-term studies. Only recently, LTER had the basis to be carried out as the society becomes stabilized. The more industrialized the society becomes, the more severely destroyed and deteriorated natural habitats and the conditions of environment become. Now, the necessity for LTER has been strongly supported by the public in these days.

It is only recently when three sites were officially designated for long-term ecological research. Forestry Research Institute (FRI) included LTER as a major project in forestry research. The first LTER site in Korea is Kwangnung Experimental Forest which represents the oldest natural forest of Korea. Some part of the forest has been protected for more than 500 years. Forests of Mt. Kyebangsan and Mt. Keumsan were included in the list. There are some other sites which have the potential to be designated as LTER sites. Although it is in early phase in LTER, promotion and encouragement of focused activities of ecologists and taxonomists will promise the sound development of Korea LTER and biodiversity conservation in near future.

In the presentation, some aspects of the national programs on such issues as: 1) description of program, objectives, and core areas, 2) information management, 3) cross-site research, 4) network management, 5) application of LTER research, 6) partnerships, 7) collaboration among networks will be addressed for the promotion of Long-Term Ecological Research and biodiversity conservation activities in Korea

In this region, collaboration among the regional networks is made through regular biennial regional conference. Next year, the 3rd regional conference is scheduled to be held in October, 1999 in Seoul, Korea. Collaboration among the global networks will be mainly facilitated by internet, whose address is Domestically, cooperative partnerships with Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF), National Park Authority (NPA), local governments such as Seoul Metropolitan Government and Chejudo Provincial Government, and universities as well as Forestry Research Institute (FRI) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) are actively pursued through Korea LTER Committee (KLC) to facilitate communication and cooperation among the scientists, managers, and policy makers in ecology and related disciplines.

This Workshop represents that a major step was taken for the development of Korea LTER and biodiversity conservation activities because three sites were recognized as international network and KOSEF began to recognize the importance of the programs in Korea.