Korea has unique geographical and climatic conditions. Its mountains continue from Baekdusan Mountain in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula to Jirisan Mountain in the south, and the resulting variety of geographical features, together with water bordering the country on three sides, lead to ecosystem diversity. Mountain areas making up approximately 64% of the national land and 3,200 islands form beautiful scenery and provide a variety of habitat environments.
Looking at the forest ecosystem, Korea’s forests make up 64% of the national land, with diverse vegetation from warm-temperate to polar zones distributed throughout. In terms of forest physiognomy, coniferous forests are the most dominant at 41% of the total while broadleaf forests and conifer-broadleaf forests make up 27% and 29%, respectively. The coniferous pine tree is the most extensively distributed single species, making up 23% of the forest area. Broadleaf evergreen trees grow in the South Coast and island regions, while polar coniferous trees grow in the alpine and northern regions.
The farmland ecosystem makes up 17.9% of the national land, of which 60% consists of rice paddies and 40% consists of fields. The farmland area is continuously decreasing due to urbanization; there has been a particularly noticeable reduction in the area of rice paddies, which are inhabited by aquatic organisms.
The freshwater ecosystem is formed along long and gently sloping streams that flow towards the Yellow Sea and South Sea. Streams that flow towards the East Sea are short and often have strong currents. The flow rate is usually low but intensifies during the rainy season due to high seasonal variations in precipitation. The stream ecosystem is being majorly disturbed by physical factors such as dam construction, channel straightening, aggregate collection, and embankment construction. There are a relatively small number of wetlands near lakes, as there are few natural lakes, but several artificial lakes with severe water level fluctuations. Wetlands situated by a major river, such as Upo of the Nakdonggang River, are relatively well preserved.
The coastal ecosystem features tidelands widely distributed throughout the West and South Coasts. It measures 2,489 km2, of which 83.6% is concentrated in the West Coast. The coastal and marine regions of Korea are used as eco-tourism resources, as they have highly valuable scenery in their bays, lagoons, sea cliffs, and tidelands.
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Last modified : 2016-11-03 22:58
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