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Study: DMZ’s Ecosystem Deteriorating

Posted April. 29, 2006 06:36,   


“Four carcasses of eagles, natural monument no. 243, were found on February 10. Indigenous snakehead fish were found dead near Daeseong reservoir on February 10. Bass, an introduced species that eat indigenous fish, were found on March 9. Lead plant, an introduced plant that harms indigenous plants, was found on April 26…”

These facts are a part of the ecosystem research results of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). The ecosystem of the DMZ, the treasury house of the ecosystem, is being destroyed.

On April 28, Dong-A Ilbo acquired the ecosystem research done in Paju by the DMZ Ecosystem Joint Research Team, which is led by Kim Gwi-gon, a professor of the Landscape Architecture and Rural Engineering Department at Seoul National University.

The team researched the region on five occasions starting last November with the permission of the UN Command. There has been much researched on the surrounding area of the civilian passage restriction line, but this marks the first time that research was done in the DMZ.

According to the research, bass, an introduced species, were found in the reservoir which is linked to the Sacheon stream in Paju. Bass are freshwater fish that eat recklessly indigenous fish such as crucial carp.

A third of the Sacheon reservoir belongs to South Korea, and two-thirds of it belongs to North Korea. The reservoir is one of the cleanest in the DMZ. The research confirmed that there are bass in North Korea. The team drew the conclusion that the bass living in North Korea swam down to South Korea.

The team found a total of 128 plants and animals in the region. Among them are 27 protected species such as cranes (natural monument no. 202) and kestrel (natural monument no.323). Through November 2007, when research permission expires, it is expected that unknown species will be found.

The team also found that there are 28 types of swamps in the DMZ, including Panmunbeol. Professor Kim said, “The Mukjeong swamp near Panmunbeol and the Woljeong observation tower is a rare swamp found only in some Asian paddy fields.”

The team plans to announce its research results on May 2 at the “International Academic Council in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Dongkuk University.”

The photos of a Buddhist cultural legacy in the DMZ are going to be displayed. Jo Yoo-jeon, head of Korean Land Museum plans to make public 21 historic remains and three legacies such as the capital castle of Gungye and Simwonsa which were built by Queen Jindeok and burned during the Korean War.