15 November 2019

Implementing effective forest management in South Korea

Options Winter 2019/20: The South Korea Forest Service will have to implement effective forest management practices if they want to sustainably achieve the country’s aim of increasing timber extraction.

© Info10384 | Dreamstime

© Info10384 | Dreamstime

After the Korean War ended, South Korea set about improving its natural resources. To combat the effects of deforestation, such as erosion and ground instability, the government implemented a national forestation program. While this helped increase carbon accumulation, it is unclear what effect these efforts had on soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation.

South Korea is currently aiming to increase timber extraction through the reduction of the cutting age of trees. To do this, they must implement effective forest management practices. Furthermore, comprehensive analysis is needed to determine which practices might yield the best results.

Ecosystem Services and Management Program postdoc Moonil Kim, collaborated on a study to assess the influence of forest management on SOC dynamics. The study proposes a theoretical framework to assess the influence of these practices on carbon sequestration, water supply, and biomass production and found that reducing the cutting age from 80 to 40 years would only be feasible in high biomass production forests. However, they elucidate that increasing tree species diversity could lessen the negative effects of reducing the cutting age in lower biomass production forests through improving other soil properties.

“Our findings confirm the importance of soil biodiversity and nutrient availability in resilient and productive forest ecosystems,” explains Kim. “The Korea Forest Service should use these findings to build action plans to increase timber extraction if they hope to bequeath a healthy and beautiful environment to future generations.”

By Jeremy Summers

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Last edited: 21 November 2019

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