The potential impact of a botanical garden in the Korean Demilitarized Zone

Shin, Dongah
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University of Delaware
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea came into fruition as a result of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement. No human disturbance for over 60 years yielded the de facto sanctuary. The DMZ, which extends 248 km (155 miles) long and 4 km (2.5 miles) wide, has become a nature sanctuary that contains more than 1,800 flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species. Many researchers maintain that the DMZ must be preserved for the sake of biodiversity, and designating the DMZ as a peace park, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site or a Biosphere Reserve is appropriate. Botanic gardens have become environmental stewards that can play crucial roles in conservation, research, and education. Furthermore, botanic gardens illustrate the history and culture of the nation in which they reside. This research investigated the feasibility of developing a botanical garden in the DMZ utilizing surveys of the South Korean public and interviews conducted in South Korea with horticulture and government professionals. The public was supportive of the idea of establishing a botanical garden and agreed that the garden focuses on conservation efforts and educational programming. Upon further research, a similar government plan was found and included in the planning of a proposed DMZ Native Botanical Garden (DNBG). Another interview with an individual from North Carolina Botanical Garden was conducted as a possible model for the DNBG. The results of the survey, interviews and the DNBG plan yielded the current state of affairs in the DMZ and Civilian Control Zone (CCZ), followed by examination of Wyse Jackson’s viewpoints on the critical elements to consider when creating a botanic garden with research findings. The research then explores six potential roles and eight critical elements that the DNBG should consider in order to be successful as a core institution for DMZ and CCZ conservation. A SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of the planning and the research results was used to develop strategies for the proposed DMZ botanic garden.
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) , SWOT Analysis , Botanical gardens , Civilian Control Zone (CCZ)