Challenges and Goal of the Sustainable Island: Case Study in UNESCO Shinan Dadohae Biosphere Reserve, Korea

Sun-Kee Hong, Heon-Jong Lee, Bong-Ryong Kang, Jae-Eun Kim, Kyoung-Ah Lee, Kyoung-Wan Kim, and Dae-Hoon Jang

Abstract The Republic of Korea has more than 3,400 large and small islands. About 60 % of these islands are located in the southwestern Jeollanam-do Province, which also includes a huge tidal flat wetland. Because of high biodiversity in the tidal flat ecosystem and a healthy oceanic ecosystem, this area was designated as Dadohae Haesang National Park in 1981. Shinan Dadohae, including Heuksan Do-Hong Do (-Do corresponds to Island) and Bigeum Do-Docho Do, are well known for their island vegetation, migratory birds, and biodiversity. Jeung-Do, famous for its tidal flat ecosystem and biodiversity, was designated a Provincial Park of Jeollanam-do. The excellence of ecosystem, landscape, and cultural attri­butes gave significant reasons to designate these areas as the 3rd UNESCO Bio­sphere Reserve in the Republic of Korea in 2009. Since this designation, research has been carried out to develop a management plan for sustainable development based on a balance of human and natural systems in biosphere reserve areas. In the management plan, several special strategies related to global climate change and a low carbon society were adopted, such as to monitor changing socioeconomic standards as well as to monitor changing ecosystems of island and coastal environ­ments. Because education on sustainable use of energy and resources is also an important issue in the island system for accomplishing a low carbon society, this was also included. The most important issue in the management plan, however, is related to the environmental adaptation process of human society on islands, given that these areas are limited resource areas.

S.-K. Hong (*) • J.-E. Kim • K.-A. Lee • K.-W. Kim • D.-H. Jang Institution for Marine and Island Cultures, Mokpo National University,

Jeonnam 530-841, Republic of Korea e-mail: landskhong@gmail. com

H.-J. Lee

Department of Archeology, Mokpo National University, Jeonnam 534-729, Republic of Korea B.-R. Kang

Department of History, Mokpo National University, Jeonnam 534-729, Republic of Korea

N. Nakagoshi and J. A. Mabuhay (eds.), Designing Low Carbon Societies in Landscapes, Ecological Research Monographs, DOI 10.1007/978-4-431-54819-5_9, © Springer Japan 2014

Keywords Comprehensive management system • Korea • Shinan Dadohae Bioshpere Reserve • Sustainable Island

9.1 Introduction

Designated in 2009, the UNESCO Shinan Dadohae Biosphere Reserve (SDBR) located in the southwestern area of the Korean peninsula in East Asia consists of about 1,000 islands. It also encompasses the majority of the areas that fall under the jurisdiction of Dadohae Marine National Park located in Shinan-gun, an area which was established with an eye toward preserving nature and contributing to the sustainable development of human life. The UNESCO Shinan Dadohae Biosphere Reserve (SDBR) is divided into several sub-areas. Its total area, including its transitional zone of 39,746 ha, has been estimated at 57,312 ha. The area is home to many islands, as well as the tidal flats that surround these islands. In this regard, the difference between the ebb and flow of the tide and the presence of complex waterways has created unique geographic and biological diversity within the area under conservation. In addition, during the process of adjusting to the comprehen­sive ecosystem composed of the sea, tidal flats, land, and forests, local people have formed a unique island culture that has been rooted in this geographic and biolog­ical diversity. The SDBR is at once a warm temperate broad-leaved forest zone and a warm temperate evergreen broad-leaved forest zone. There is growing concern that the rise in sea levels and changes in vegetation and fish species occasioned by recent climate variability may impact these islands in a complicated manner. As such, there is an urgent need to conserve this complex ecosystem, which has long been maintained in a unique manner, and to establish a human lifestyle that facilitates the conservation of the ecosystem. A biosphere reserve area can be regarded as an area in which the preservation of elements of biodiversity and cultural diversity, such as outstanding landscapes, varied ecosystems, and indige­nous biological species, has been deemed important at the global level (UNESCO MAB 2008). In this regard, the protection of biodiversity and the ecosystems deemed to be of high value for conservation is predicated on the establishment of a mechanism through which to study the change in the ecosystems within the core zone (UNESCO 2008). The ecosystem management plan should include the basic guidelines for a long-term monitoring system that can be used to predict and analyze changes in the island ecosystem, marine environment, and the residents “life system,” including vegetation in the BR (biosphere reserve) area, in accor­dance with climate change. In addition, measures to implement ecosystem services such as the installment of a management center to manage monitoring should also be included in the BR management plan.