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Activities > International Forum for Integrated Forest Restoration


International Forum for Integrated Forest Restoration
Future of Korean Peninsula: Forest Preservation, Utilization and People in Harmony

18 June 2019
Incheon, Korea


There is a growing awareness of the importance of forest in terms of climate change, biodiversity and combating desertification, and a strong potential for coherence among countries on that. An international forum was convened during the recent Asia Pacific Forestry Week in Incheon, Korea, to reaffirm the significance of forest and landscape restoration in the Republic of Korea for the international recognition and Inter-Korean forest cooperation.

The Republic of Korea is to perpetual peace and prosperity in uniting South and North Koreas. This policy goes hand in hand with the future of the Korean Peninsula through protection and utilization of forest and people-centered integrated forest restoration.

The International Forum for Integrated Forest Restoration was held at Oakwood Premier Incheon Hotel on 18 June 2019. APAFRI with the annual allocation from National Institute of Forest Science (NIFos) provided support for five staff members from APAFRI member institutions to participate in this forum. They were from Forestry Research, Development and Innovation Agency (FOERDIA), Indonesia; Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), India; Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), Philippines; National Taiwan University, Taiwan; and Kasetsart University, Thailand.

The forum began with the Opening Address by Chun BomKwon, President of NIFoS and followed by the Welcoming Address by Robert Nasi, Director General of Center for International Forestry Research.

Chaired by Son Yowhan, the session of successful story of forest landscape restoration lined up three distinguished speakers. Hwang Jaehong presented the various cases of forest restoration on degraded land in Korea and associated challenges. In 1920s, there was a completely denuded forest in the Gyeongbuk Province due to devastation by building up of temporary housing, use of tree branches to cook, and cultivating corns in slash-and-burn practice. Under the strong leadership of the President, and other factors involving various stakeholders, now the world can see the changes in the panoramic view in that area. Besides the successful stories, there are challenges. An outlook on environmental situation showed that there’s an increase in natural disasters such as forest fires, landslides and insect pests. Therefore forest research should emphasize more on restoration instead of rehabilitation.

Paola Agostini in her key message highlighted that landscape restoration is doable. She came out with some classic examples such as in China (loess plateau production restoration), Rwanda (restoration for food security), and Costa Rica (reversed forest degradation). Landscape restoration in specific fields like energy, mining, household energy, and urban flooding control, could help in achieving the goals. World Bank’s Forest Action Plan FY16-20 provides the guidelines for the landscape approach. She also mentioned that the economic values of forest restoration is every one dollar of restoration will gain from 7 to 39 dollars of benefits. The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. So far there are 170.43 million hectares pledged by various countries. The 30x30 Initiative is a country-led initiative to restore 30 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands for Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia by 2030 in support of the Bonn Challenge.

The last presenter, Bir C. Mandal talked about the challenges and opportunities in DPR Korea forest restoration. Deforestation endangers agriculture and food systems resulted from land degradation, and worsening the impact of recurrent natural disaster. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that the forest land in DPR Korea had declined to 5.03 million hectares in 2015. Several agroforestry projects have been implemented by FAO, international NGOs and the government. However these efforts are not adequate to address the long-term challenges in DPRK.

Before closing, Lee JoonWoo chaired a panel discussion where six panelists expressed their views on the topics.

Updated on 5 July 2019

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