Kangwon National University in South Korea has signed an MOU with Yanbian University in China and Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang for forest investigation in North Korea.
The joint team will investigate Sinwon-gun, South Hwanghae Province for 10 years, observing the environment and investigating reforestation.
Their research will include land cover mapping, analyze the economic value of the forest industry, protection of the land and verification on efficiency for managing the forest and agriculture together. The investigation will be based on South Korea’s past experience with reforestation.
“We signed with Yanbian University, then the same document was signed between Yanbian and Kim Il Sung University,” Woo Jong-choon, professor of KNU’s department of forest management told NK News.
KNU will provide the materials created by satellite and Geographic Information System (GIS) to Kim Il Sung University.
“Kim Il Sung University actively welcomed this project, and they will visit and investigate the area with the data we will provide,” Woo said. The project is already in its implementation phase.
Sinwon-gun is located near the DMZ.
“We looked through five regions and chose Sinwon-gun, as it is the most devastated area near the border,” Woo said.
According to the Korea Forest Research Institute, North Korean forest scale has been decreasing steadily, particularly in the mid-’90s. Since 2000, 160,515 hectares, or nearly 400 acres, has disappeared, while only 13,680 hectare has been created.
An international recovery plan started after 2000 and the Ministry of Unification funded Korea Forest Service to foster tree nursery and prevention for forest disease. Due to the cool down in inter-Korean relations after 2007 cooperation has ceased.
The Korea Rural Economic Institute has proposed an agro-forest to attract residents by planting profitable crops. It has pointed out that the cooperation may bring economic benefits for South Korea as well.
“Through the reforestation project, North Korea can decrease the devastation to its mountains, and South Korea can sell the result by being credited for reducing greenhouse gases,” a publication from the institute reads.
Earlier in July South Korean Minister of Unification mentioned the resumption of environment-related projects meant to prevent damage caused by drought and seasonal rain.
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Featured Image: Inner Chilbo-san - North Korea by Eric Lafforgue on 2010-05-06 15:05:49