The core zone includes the Dadohae Marine National Park, an inland area designated as a natural monument, and the tidal flat area, for which steps have been taken to have it designated as a wetland protection area. The total area of core zone has been estimated at about 3,242 ha (Table 9.1). The buffer zone includes 2,384 ha of inland area, including the Dadohae Marine National Park and Mud-Flat Provincial Park, 2,242 ha of tidal flats, and 9,698 ha of sea area. Its total area encompasses 14,324 ha. The transition zone includes the marine area designated as the Dadohae Marine National Park as well as some farmland and residential areas in Heuksan – myeon, Bigeum-myeon, Docho-myeon, and Jeungdo-myeon. Its total area is 39,746 ha. The area of the core zone is relatively smaller than that of the buffer and transition zone. However, as the majority of the tidal flats that preserve natural resources and purify the pollution caused by man are surrounded by islands and the sea, they run a lower risk of being damaged by potential industries that can be set up in the area.
The biosphere reserve is divided into the core zone, which has been legally designated as such because it meets the prevailing conditions in terms of conservation objectives, the buffer zone adjacent to the core zone that requires long-term protection, and the transition zone within which sustainable development and resources management can be carried out (UNESCO MAB 2008).
The core zone includes the Dadohae Marine National Park and three natural monuments designated and protected in accordance with the National Parks Act and Cultural Properties Protection Act. Laws related to the conservation of this core zone include the Coast Management Act, Natural Environment Conservation Act, Marine Pollution Prevention Act, Water Quality Conservation Act, and Framework Act on Environmental Policy. To this end, in accordance with Article 28 of the Natural Parks Act, Special Protected Areas within Korean National Parks are to be designated based on the following process. Areas such as habitats of endangered species that will have to be identified as protected areas in the future should be added based on the Rest-year Sabbatical System, which has been implemented
Table 9.1 Size of the Biosphere Reserve by functional area (unit, ha)
since 1999. Thereafter, the candidate areas should be reclassified and organized based on the purposes of protection. Finally, the Special Protected Areas in Korean National Parks can be selected. Special Protected Areas in Korean National Parks represent a mechanism designed to limit unwanted human behavior through such means as the placing of restrictions on access to main resources areas, such as wild animal habitats, wild plant areas, wetlands, and valleys, whose protection from artificial and natural damage is deemed of high value. In this regard, the Jeungdo area of Shinan-gun, a tidal flat area that sits within the core zone, was determined to have a high conservation value. This area was designated as Mud-Flat Provincial Park in June 2008. Meanwhile, steps have been taken, in cooperation with the related administrative agencies, to bring about the designation of the tidal flats near Bigeum-myeon and Docho-myeon as a Wetland Protected Area.
The buffer zone is an area within which activities that are deemed not to hinder the objectives of conservation are permitted. It either lies adjacent to the core zone or surrounds the latter. All in all, the buffer zone consists of 14,324 ha, or 9,698 ha of sea area, 2,384 ha of forested and farming lands, and 2,242 ha of tidal flats. The sea area has been designated as the Dadohae Marine National Park. Although residents have engaged in the collection of Korean medicinal herbs in the forested land, various agricultural products such as spinach, onion, garlic, and rice have been cultivated in the farmland. Meanwhile, local denizens have engaged in fishing without gear for octopus, crab, and shellfish in the tidal flats. These human activities that have made use of indigenous knowledge have played an important role in the preservation and conservation of the ecosystem and helped to maintain harmony with nature. These methods of resources appropriation will in the future greatly contribute to the establishment of an indigenous knowledge transmission system through such means as the development of eco-tourism programs and the management of fishing experience villages.
The transition zone refers to an adjacent area where sustainable resources management practices are encouraged and developed (Lee et al. 2010). Located outside the buffer zone, the transition zone encompasses residential areas and privately owned forests. For the most part, the area consists of spaces in which the everyday activities of residents unfold. The residents in the transition zone have earned their living based on indigenous knowledge for the most part related to the sea. Economic activities within this zone are mainly based on primary industries such as agriculture, fishing, and the collection of marine products. Accommodations and restaurants have also developed as secondary economic activities geared toward visitors who flock to the area in search of a clean natural environment. In particular, the tidal flats within the transition zone function as a mechanism that conserves the natural resources and purifies pollution caused by man. The majority of the tidal flats are surrounded by islands and seas (Koh 2001). The possibility of any of the potential economic activities damaging these tidal flats is very low. For instance, the saltpans not only help bring about the regeneration of the tidal flats, but also serve as nutrient salts within this natural ecosystem known as tidal flats. In addition, the saltpans are also a source of nutrition for shallow fish species that live along the West Coast. These tidal flats and saltpans can be regarded as a treasure trove of biodiversity, an ecological corridor that connects the mainland to the sea, and as a source of livelihood for the people who collect marine products in the area (Hong and Kim 2007). The excellent economic attributes of tidal flats and limited risk of additional environmental destruction makes this area one in which a sustainable economy can be brought about (Hong et al. 2010). The transition zone is an area in which sustainable development is guaranteed under the Coast Management Act and the Fishing Villages and Fishery Harbors Act. These regulations will help prevent development that leads to the destruction of nature, as well as environmental destruction caused by an explosive increase in the number of tourists. In addition to the conservation of natural resources, the designation of the area as a biosphere reserve area can help identify the regional economy, which has been relatively backward, as a successful case of activation through sustainable development.