Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




FLORA AND FAUNA
Threat to wildlife haven in 'scariest place on Earth'
by Staff Writers
Jeju, South Korea (AFP) Sept 9, 2012


An unlikely and unique cradle of biodiversity that runs the length of the world's most heavily-militarised border is being threatened by encroaching development, conservation experts say.

Once described by former US president Bill Clinton as "the scariest place on Earth", the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula between North and South was created after the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Four kilometres (2.5 miles) wide and 248 kilometres long, it is a depopulated no-man's land of heavily-fortified fences and bristling with the landmines and listening posts of two nations that technically remain at war.

As a military buffer zone, it remains an area of profound Cold War hostility, but its man-made isolation has also created an accidental park recognised as one of the most well-preserved, temperate habitats on Earth.

Cutting across mountains, prairies, swamps, lakes and tidal marshes, it has become a protected home for an astonishing variety of plants and animals, including 82 endangered species such as the red-crowned crane and the Amur leopard.

Now experts attending the ongoing World Conservation Congress on South Korea's southern Jeju island, say redevelopment of land bordering the DMZ is putting the future of the wildlife haven at risk.

"The DMZ is so impressive in biodiversity in terms of its ecosystem due to its remoteness and no human impact," Uwe Riecken, director of biotope protection at the German Federal Agency for Nature told a Congress workshop.

"But on the other hand, the DMZ is facing a lot of potential threats arising from future possible access, including development," he warned.

The immediate threat is to the large strips of land that form a "civilian restricted zone" adjoining the DMZ on both sides.

Once fertile farmland abandoned after the war, the restricted zone has, over the past 60 years, reverted back to forest and natural wetlands, providing a crucial habitat for the DMZ wildlife.

"But now this is being converted back to agricultural or ginseng farms, changing the habitat of both the wild animals and plants," said Park Eun-Jin, an environmentalist at South Korea's Gyeonggi Research Institute.

Although relations between North and South remain volatile, recent efforts to reduce tensions have resulted in more permits being granted for land-use in the restricted zone.

"More pressure for inter-Korean economic development in the area is also going to pose a challenge in terms of maintaining a balance between development and preservation," Park said.

Aside from land conversion, Park said proposals for modern canals and roads would have an enormous impact on the amphibians, reptiles and birds that inhabit the area.

Experts at the conservation congress said the two Koreas would have to try to work together to prevent human resettlement of the area from disrupting the delicately-balanced ecosystem created over the past six decades.

Jeong Hoi-Seong, president of the South Korean Institute for the Environment and Civilization, said the South should consider "economic incentives" to ensure the impoverished North's cooperation.

"The South needs to find a way to incorporate economic benefits with environmental cooperation because the environment is not North Korea's priority," Jeong said.

South Korea has sought international recognition of the DMZ region as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, but the UN body has demurred, citing territorial uncertainties among other factors.

In a presentation to the congress in Jeju, the executive director of UNESCO's Natural Sciences Sector, Han Qunli, said this did not mean the area could not be granted special status in the future.

"There is a promising long-term perspective in the DMZ -- once all parties are convinced -- that the area could be turned from a symbol of confrontation to a bridge of connection... and a best example of biodiversity conservation," Han said.

Ironically, an enduring peace between North and South Korea could hold the biggest threat of all to the DMZ ecosystem in the form of eventual reunification of the peninsula.

If reunification were to happen before it receives the status of an internationally protected site, peace might end up destroying the very haven that war accidentally created.

.


Related Links
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FLORA AND FAUNA
Trout will become extinct in the Iberian Peninsula in less than 100 years
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Sep 07, 2012
Climate change, pollution, the extraction of water for irrigation and overfishing all threaten the survival of the common trout. This fish is very sensitive to changes in its environment and, according to the Spanish study, its habitat will have reduced by half by the year 2040 and will have completely disappeared from Iberian rivers by 2100, so its population will become extinct. Global w ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
Japan slams brakes on $63 billion in spending

25 killed in ammunition depot blast in western Turkey: army

Two slightly injured in accident at French nuclear plant

Congo, China, sign 975m-euro deal to rebuild Brazzaville

FLORA AND FAUNA
World watches for 'iPhone 5' unveiling Wednesday

Airborne observatory and electronic noses - DLR presents new space developments at ILA

Estonian first graders to learn computer code

Tough gel stretches to 21 times its length, recoils, and heals itself

FLORA AND FAUNA
Deep-Sea Crabs Seek Food Using Ultraviolet Vision

Bright life on the ocean bed: Predators may even color code food

Chikyu Sets a New World Drilling-Depth Record of Scientific Ocean Drilling

Study identifies prime source of ocean methane

FLORA AND FAUNA
Glacial thinning has sharply accelerated at major South American icefields

Russia charges Greenpeace activists in polar bear protest

Russia's unique economic position in the Arctic

Major world interests at stake in Canada's vast Mackenzie River Basin

FLORA AND FAUNA
Wild bees: Champions for food security and protecting our biodiversity

US fruit giant Dole settles 38 pesticide complaints

Spinach power gets a big boost

Bees, fruits and money

FLORA AND FAUNA
Nicaragua eruption forces 3,000 to evacuate

Hurricane Michael weakens in Atlantic: forecasters

Floods kill 18 in Burkina Faso, leave 21,000 homeless

China quakes kill at least 80

FLORA AND FAUNA
Nigeria trains more peacekeeping troops

Kenya readies Somali Kismayo attack

Rebel chief returns to Chad after surrender

Weapons destined for Mali held up in Guinea since July

FLORA AND FAUNA
Researchers identify biochemical functions for most of the human genome

Major advances in understanding the regulation and organization of the human genome

Yale team finds order amidst the chaos within the human genome

Benign malaria key driver of human evolution in Asia-Pacific




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement