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Analysis of the Deforestation Status of and Management Plan in Seoul

In-Ju Song · Cho-rong Yoon

Multiple factors including urban development projects, erosion control projects to prevent landslides, illegal cultivation, and natural disasters have led to the degradation of forests and forests adjacent areas. According to the Seoul Biotope Map, the Forest Biotope in Seoul decreased by approximately 5.54% in 2015 compared to 2010, and decreased by approximately 0.95% in 2020 compared to 2015, reducing the area by about 6.3% over 10 years. This corresponds to about 1.49% of the total ​​Seoul area. Worse still, efficient forest management has been a challenge because the concept and contents of forest degradation are not clear; forest management laws are inconsistent, and therefore there are no specific standards for protection and restoration of degraded areas.
Therefore, in this study, the causes of forests and adjacent areas degradation in Seoul were analyzed, and the types of forest degradation that Seoul city should manage were highlighted. In addition, based on the analysis results of the deforestation status in Seoul, the present study aimed to prepare guidelines for restoration and management of the degraded areas in consideration of the Seoul ecological characteristics, and to suggest ways to improve laws and management systems the degraded areas.
The present study covers the concept and policy trend analysis of deforested areas, analysis of the management status of deforested areas, analysis of the characteristics of deforested areas, and restoration and management plans of the degraded areas. 
In the analysis of the deforestation intention concept and policy trends, related concepts such as forestry, degradation, and restoration were reviewed and grouped as domestic laws. In addition, prior research studies and policy trends related to deforestation were analyzed. The concept and scope of deforestation in this study is a product of a comprehensive reflection of analysis on the deforested areas characteristics, expert surveys, and field surveys.
For the analysis of the degraded areas management status, the legal system related to forest damage was reviewed. Based on the review, the management is mainly a responsibility of the government and the Seoul Metropolitan Government for forest damage and restoration. In the legislative review, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and the Korea Forest Service laws related to forest damage and restoration were reviewed, and implications were drawn by comparing and analyzing the city planning ordinance and the natural environment conservation ordinance. In addition, the current status of the management and restoration projects was summarized through a review of each department project contents and interviews with the persons in charge.
To analyze the characteristics of the deforested areas in Seoul, the status of deforestation was evaluated through in-house field surveys and detailed field surveys with civic groups in the forest and adjacent areas. In addition, the types of forest degradation in Seoul were reviewed. An expert survey was conducted and the types, causes, characteristics, and management methods of forest damage in Seoul were highlighted. Further, the types of damage in Seoul were presented and characteristics of each type were analyzed by combining the results of the field survey. The concept of deforestation in Seoul was analyzed based on the spatial characteristics of the deforested areas, such as the location, and spatial distribution was identified using the GIS for all the deforested land.
For the restoration and management plans, the priority of restoration was suggested after comprehensively considering the types and characteristics of forest damage, the distribution of the degraded areas, and ownership of the degraded areas. In addition, restoration guidelines that reflect the urban spatial characteristics of Seoul were prepared. In the guidelines, the types and damage characteristics of forests in Seoul were summarized, and the basic directions and principles of restoration according to the characteristics and individual restoration methods were presented along with examples. In addition, through a comprehensive review of the existing laws and regulations, a proposal to improve the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s ordinances x and therefore efficient management of the deforested areas was developed.