Korea — With Korea celebrating Arbor Day this week, nationwide tree planting campaigns are taking place everywhere from parks to government offices. In cooperation with the Korea Forest Service, communities and villages will be working to plant millions of pine saplings in local neighborhoods and countrysides.
[Interview : Lee Whan-gyo, Director National Forest Management] “When you’re walking, take care not to step on and break the roots. And be sure to leave behind lots of leaves around the tree saplings to prevent excess water evaporation.”
In the city of Pyeongchang, 2,18 trees were planted in the spirt of the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics.
[Interview : Lee Jung-soon, Resident Pyeongchang] “Since everyone wants the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to succeed, it helps motivate people to plant trees. It would be great if all the trees in this region grow to create a lush and green forest. “
The national forestry service will also be concentrating efforts this year on public awareness of forest fires and fire prevention education. Each year, 15-hundred football fields of forest are lost to forest fires, and more than 70 percent of that is lost in the month of April.
[Interview : Heo Kyung-tae, Director Eastern Forest Division] “Even though it rained a few days ago, the Yeongdong region has been getting a a lot of dry winds. This increases the high risk of forest fires occuring.”
During a ceremony at the Korea National Arboretum, President Lee Myung-bak voiced his support of reforestation efforts in North Korea, saying that it would be a win-win project for both sides. Not only would it offset deforestation rates in North Korea, it would help earn carbon emission credits for South Korea.
On the brink of deforestation in the 1950’s, South Korea has since become a model for reforestation in the world by planting over 11 billion trees which now blanket two-thirds of the country.