Korean demilitarized zone now a wildlife haven
But it's not Shangri La or a national park: It is http://www.eaglewoodfolk.com/locatio the notorious Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas. Established after the 1953 Korean War cease fire (the two nations are technically still at war), it is the most dangerous and heavily militarized border in the world.
The de facto wildlife preserve encompasses 390 square miles of diverse terrain virtually untouched by human development for 55 years. Now, as this accidental Eden faces major development pressures, a growing contingent is pushing for its establishment as a transboundary nature park which could also be a step toward peace between the two Koreas. For decades, South Korea kept a 3 to 12 mile wide buffer along the 155 mile length of the DMZ. The low population Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) is an invasion precaution, but the easing of tensions in the last decade has led to major development there.
Paju, South Korea, is a hub of new job creation despite its being a mere three miles from the DMZ. Paju's population has more than doubled, to 300,000 plus, since 2003. Major industrial development in North Korea, such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex, has also been on the rise within a few miles of the DMZ. Some 30,000 workers produce low end goods at the complex.
Increased industrial activity, as well as extensive deforestation on both sides of the border (up to two thirds of North Korea) have meant worse air and water pollution within the sensitive zone. What has so fortuitously been saved could be recklessly lost, says Hall Healy, president of the DMZ Forum, a US based NGO working to officialbullsauthentic.com/WOMENS-DERRICK-ROSE-JERSEY.html preserve the area.
"As resilient as these habitats have proven to be, they can't sustain this level of development on a broader scale," says Mr. Healy. "We have already lost vast swaths of the CCZ, and Dennis Rodman 2XL Jersey the DMZ may not be as amazing without them."
While covert military activity does occur inside the DMZ, officialbullsauthentic.com/WOMENS-DENNIS-RODMAN-JERSEY.html it's officially off limits, and anyone entering from either side risks being shot. Barbed wire fences also prevent land animals from moving in and out of the 2.5 mile wide zone. Many studies have taken place along both sides of its perimeter and through distant observation, but none within the DMZ itself.
All doubt about the zone's ecological value is gone, says Mr. Weisman, whose book explores how nature might recover in the absence of humans, "If you want to know what the world would look like if humans suddenly vanished, the DMZ would be a good first place to look."
Wildlife unique to the DMZ
And what would we see? Perhaps one third of all red crowned cranes, the world's rarest, depend on the DMZ's wetlands and nearby agricultural fields while migrating. The spotted seal, Chinese water deer, and lynx are just a few of its resident mammals. Up to 67 percent of all plant and animal species found in Korea live in and around the DMZ. Several species are found only there.
Scientists see it as a gene bank from which a decimated Derrick Rose 2XL Jersey wildlife population could be rebuilt, with an eye toward eventual reintroduction. Without it, several East Asian species might become extinct.