THE ROLE OF KOREAN BOTANICAL GARDENS AND ARBORETA AS A REGIONAL CONTEXT
IN ACHIEVING THE GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION
The Korean Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta
Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Natural Resources, Yeungnam University
Republic of Korea
The history of the botanical gardens and arboreta in Korea is very young and are remained in the infant stage to compare with other major botanical gardens in the world. Since last 1970s, we have witnessed the booming of botanical gardens and arboreta in Korea, mainly focused on collection and display in private sectors, and this results unstable management to pursue of its main functions of the botanical gardens and arboreta. The botanical institutions such as the Korea National Arboretum is working to document the flora and augment the wild populations of threatened plant species in the south of the Peninsula working with the academic botanical institutions and filed up remarkable outputs recently.
Due to the rapid economic development since last 1960’s, the habitat of flora and fauna has been rapidly degraded. The protected areas could be covered only less than 10 % of the land area and this trend extends to the legally protected plant species. Although both GO and NGOs has been tried to conserve the plant diversity, we need more strong attention to work together towards the national and international agenda for plant conservation. In Korea, the laws and regulations for plant and habitat conservation targeting both the national and international contexts are well prepared, but the overall collaboration between relevant organizations within the nation is not well deployed.
Redlisting for plants in Korea growing concern but goes slowly and this work is being carried mainly by the Korea National Arboretum in collaboration with the Korean Plant Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union. Last year in October, the first Redlisting Assessment Workshop was held at the Korea National Arboretum supported by the IUCN SSC. Approximately 570 vascular species which covers most of the endemic and threatened plant species in Korea was accessed so far and ready for registration to the IUCN SSC.
Recovery programmes for the degraded habitats or threatened plant species in Korea dated back to the early 1970s and it is widely concerned to the public in Korea. Intensive illegal collection of plant species for ornamental purposes devastated the populations in the wild. Extensive recovery programmes are applied mainly by the Korea National Arboretum and the Korea National Park Service participated recently to single species recovery programmes in the protected areas. The impending challenges is to meet the levels to international re-introduction guidelines
The region of East Asia is one of the global botanical hotspots in the temperate region and owns valuable ethnobotanical and cultural backgrounds with wide range of cultural heritages related plant diversity. Furthermore, this region is also one of the fastest population and economic growth in the world. Unfortunately collaboration for plant conservation in the region was far beyond the impending realistic working together and delayed mainly because political reasons with lack of conservation communications until early 1990’s. Still the collaboration for plant diversity conservation with North Korea is in impending task.
Prior to the World Conservation Congress in Jeju in this September, regional collaboration to achieve the GSPC 2010 was more actively participated and being prepared the Resolution on strengthenning capacity building of botanical gardens and arboreta for the GSPC 2020 in East Asia. The focus of the Resolution is to clarify the mutual concerns in achieving the GSPC 2020 in the regional context in the East Asia based on the EABGN. The Korea National Arboretum of the Korea Forest Service in collaboration with the Korean Plant Specialist Group of the IUCN SSC prepared the Resolution in collaboration with major Korean conservation bodies such as Korean Association for Conservation of Nature, Korea National Park Service, National Institute of Biological Resources and also international conservation bodies including the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, South China Botanical Garden and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International. This collaboration will lead us more successfully achievable to implement the targeted goals of the GSPC for the future.