Korea has a variety of ecosystems situated around a forest ecosystem with the axial Baekdudaegan. It has a wide range of habitat environments formed by diverse vegetation, from warm-temperate to polar zones, developed coastlines, four distinct seasons resulting from the influence of seasonal winds, thousands of islands, and floods and typhoons. As a result, Korea is inhabited by a high diversity of organisms relative to the land area compared to other temperate countries.
Among the native organisms of Korea, a total of 41,483 species, including 5,308 plant species, 1,899 vertebrate species, 22,612 invertebrate species, and 11,664 microorganisms, have been recorded until 2013. Among these, 2,177 species (as of 2011) are endemic species.
Habitat reduction has been specified as the biggest threat to biodiversity. Habitats have been progressively decreasing as land used exclusively for forests and other such purposes is increasingly occupied for other uses. The forest area is decreasing by 12,000 ha each year despite forestation, colony restoration, and natural recovery of forests.
Climate change and invasion of alien fauna and flora are also threats to biodiversity. The growth and development of the Korean fir, an endemic species, is decreasing due to increased summer temperatures, and tropical organisms are travelling up to Korea due to increased sea water temperatures. As of 2014, as many as 2,167 alien species (334 plant species and 1,833 animal species) have been naturally or artificially introduced to Korea. The inflow of alien organisms into Korea is expected to continue in the future, and legal and institutional controls are being tightened for preliminary management and follow-up regarding these species.
Wildlife species that are endangered due to natural or artificial threats are protected by law according to the degree of endangerment. The “Wildlife Protection and Management Act” specifies 246 species (51 species in Class I, 195 species in Class II) of “endangered wildlife” as shown in.<Table 8-1>
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Last modified : 2016-11-03 22:58
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