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[Herald Interview] Korea’s forest management know-how going global

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Published : 2014-05-27 21:07
Updated : 2014-05-27 21:07

A growing number of countries, particularly developing countries in Asia, are seeking to learn about Korea’s forest rehabilitation and forest management know-how.

Korea has worked to green up its open spaces over the past 40 years, and its successful reforestation policy has been looked on as a benchmark for countries seeking reforestation in a short period of time.

“Inquires from overseas have varied from (questions about) reforestation to forest welfare policies,” Korea Forest Service Minister Shin Won-sop said in a written interview with The Korea Herald.

In response to rising global demand for insights into Korean green policy, the KFS has developed an array of cooperative projects to contribute to international society. 
Korea Forest Service Minister Shin Won-sop

“The trend in exports of the nation’s green policy is shifting to forest management know-how from reforestation policy these days,’’ Shin said.

As a case in point, the KFS chief pointed to the opening of the first eco-edu forest in Indonesia last year. With the help of the KFS, the Indonesian government adopted a green welfare policy which uses forests as a tool for advancing the quality of citizens’ lives.

“The forest, the first-of-its kind in Indonesia, benchmarked Korea’s recreational forests,” Shin said. The recreational forests offer visitors a variety of recreational facilities, including camping and lodging.

In addition, the KFS has increased bilateral or multilateral cooperation projects in reforestation.

Korea initiated the establishment of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization, or AFoCO, the first international organization specializing in forest issues and technology in Asia in 2012 during the Special ASEAN-Korea Ministerial Meeting.

To overcome countries’ lack of funds for planting, the KFS has run green official development assistance programs. Mongolia is one the countries that Korea offers assistance to. The KFS financially supports the Greenbelt Plantation Project of Mongolia, aimed to expand plantations in the saxaul forest in the Gobi Desert.

Investments from the private sector in overseas plantations is one of the fastest growing overseas activities in in green sector, KFS data showed.

“The green policy is one of the key areas where Korea can take a leadership role in the world,’’ Shin said.

“The KFS will continue to drive overseas activities to help other countries develop sustainable green policies.”

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)

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