The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a unique strip of land, approximately 250km (160 miles) long and 4km (2.5 miles) wide. It runs across the Korean Peninsula from east to west, serving as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. Since the Korean War armistice was declared in 1953, the ecology of the DMZ territory has been kept intact, and has evolved into a virtual treasure land of natural resources. In addition to its biological value, it is a historical place where many young people from 16 countries around the world sacrificed their lives.
Ecologically the DMZ has now become a unique place in the world, so it would be worthwhile to preserve. If this zone were to become developed, this would be a great loss to all of humankind. The zone must remain a treasure land for the plants and animals living there, and as a memorial site honoring the people who dedicated their lives to defending freedom.
In 2009, and for the first time since the Korean War, the Korean Ministry of Environment and National Institute of Environmental Research surveyed various areas in the western part of the DMZ, in 2010, in the eastern part and in the central areas where they discovered various kinds of wetlands. Ecologists discovered that the DMZ has been the habitats for many endangered wild animals including rare kinds of cranes, Korean tigers, musk deer, panthera pardus orientalis, Asiatic black bears, and so on. So far around 2,900 kinds of plants, 70 kinds of mammals, and 320 kinds of birds have been discovered inhabiting the DMZ (The Chungang Ilbo 2011. 9. 6).
Thus, the DMZ has become an international treasure zone of natural resources, so it is urgent that steps be taken to protect the precious environment of this area.