Sejong, August 2 - The Ministry of Environment (Minister Han Wha-jin) and the National Institute of Ecology (NIE, President Jo Do-sun) will release a list of inland wetlands that contains detailed information on the location, area, and living species of 2,704 inland wetlands in South Korea. Anyone can freely browse and download the data from EcoBank (nie-ecobank.kr), a comprehensive ecological data system operated by NIE. In addition, the spatial information of inland wetlands is also available on the Public Data Portal (data.go.kr) run by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, allowing users to easily analyze basic data, such as the location and area of wetlands.
The Ministry of Environment has investigated the status of 2,704 inland wetlands nationwide since 2000 in accordance with the Wetlands Conservation Act. The findings are being used as the foundational data for developing policies on wetland conservation, such as the designation of wetland protection areas. The list of inland wetlands that will be made public this time contains up-to-date information about wetlands, including coordinates, addresses, and types of wetlands discovered through basic surveys. Of them, 1,216 inland wetlands include the data of 5,677 different species. The 2,704 inland wetlands studied so far cover 1,153.4 km2 or about 1% of Korea's total land area. These wetlands are inhabited by 107 species, or 40% of the 267 endangered wildlife species designated by the Ministry. In this regard, wetland conservation is crucial in terms of protecting biodiversity.
According to the regional distribution data of inland wetlands, the area of inland wetlands is the largest in Jeollanam-do (228.3 km2), followed by Chungcheongnam-do (198.3 km2). Gyeongsangbuk-do has 373 wetlands, but Jeollanam-do has 476 wetlands, making it the province with the most wetlands overall. River wetlands, which compromise 990.7 km2 (1,326 areas), are the largest wetland type by area, followed by lake wetlands (99.0 km2, 635 areas), artificial wetlands (49.9 km2, 277 areas), and mountain wetlands (13.8 km2, 466 areas).
The Ministry of Environment expects that the list of inland wetlands will be used as a resource for environmental impact assessments required to perform development projects as well as policy development and research for wetland conservation and restoration. The list will serve as a guide in preventing wetland damages. The Ministry and NIE plan to keep updating the data, including the inland wetland ecosystems status.
"We anticipate that the disclosure of ecological spatial information of inland wetlands will help the public become more familiar with and expand their usage of the wetlands data," said Kang Seong-gu, Director of Nature and Ecology Policy Division. He added, "We will use inland wetland data more frequently for policy development and implement environmental policies based on scientific analysis and objective basis."