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S. Korea has less forest per capita than OECD average

South Korea had one of smallest per-capita forest areas among major economies, an international report said Thursday, indicating the country’s dense population.

The nation’s forest area was 1.3 square kilometers per every 1,000 people as of 2008, the “Toward Green Growth” report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed.

The reading marks the seventh-lowest level among those posted by the 34 member countries to the OECD, the international organization said, defining forest area as land not used for agriculture or city life.
Actress Lee Bo-young (center) poses with Luc Gnacadja (left), executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and Lee Don-koo, chief of Korea Forest Service, in Seoul on Thursday, after she was appointed as the goodwill ambassador for the U.N. body. Korea is to host the UNCCD’s 10th general meeting in October this year. (Yonhap News)
Actress Lee Bo-young (center) poses with Luc Gnacadja (left), executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and Lee Don-koo, chief of Korea Forest Service, in Seoul on Thursday, after she was appointed as the goodwill ambassador for the U.N. body. Korea is to host the UNCCD’s 10th general meeting in October this year. (Yonhap News)

Israel and the Netherlands both had a rock-bottom forest area per capita level of 200 square meters, followed by Britain with 500 square meters and Belgium with 600 square meters. Iceland posted the fifth lowest figure of 900 square meters, trailed by Denmark with 1 square kilometer, the report showed.

Canada held the most forest area of 93.1 square kilometers, with Australia posting 70.3 square kilometers of woodland per 1,000 people, it said. Finland, Sweden and Norway were also among the countries with vast woodland per capita.

South Korea’s low per-capita forest area is mainly attributable to the dense population in its territory, two-thirds of which is mountains.

The country’s territory covers a total area of about 100,000 square kilometers with a population of almost 50 million.

The country’s rate of forest area, measured against its total territory, reached 64.3 percent as of 2008, registering the fourth highest figure among OECD nations.

According to the report, global woodland amounted to 4 billion hectares, covering 30 percent of all land in the world, with the 10 most forest-rich countries claiming two-thirds of all forest worldwide. 

(Yonhap News)
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