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Status of freshwater fish around the Korean Demilitarized Zone and its implications for conservation.

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Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
Published online 7 December 2007 in Wiley InterScience
( DOI: 10.1002/aqc.891
Status of freshwater fish around the Korean Demilitarized Zone
and its implications for conservation
Department of Biology Education, Kongju National University, Kongju 314-701, South Korea
Department of Biology, Pusan National University, Busan 609-735, South Korea
Department of Forest Environment, Korea Forest Research Institute, Seoul 130-712, South Korea
1. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which divides the Korean peninsula, currently serves as a sanctuary
for diverse biological resources, owing to limited development and human activities. The fish fauna of the DMZ
areas, including the Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) and Military Facility Protection Area (MFPA), was
investigated by quarterly sampling at 53 sites from August 2001 to May 2004.
2. In total, 10 946 fish were collected and classified into 99 species and 26 families. Zacco platypus (relative
abundance, RA 18.6%) was the dominant species, while other key species were Rhynchocypris steindachneri
(16.0%), Pungitius sinensis (12.5%) and Zacco temmincki (8.5%).
3. Thirty species were found to be Korean endemics, representing seven families. Eight Korean vulnerable
species and two Korean natural monument species were recorded. Three exotic fish species (Carassius cuvieri,
Micropterus salmoides and Lepomis macrochirus) were collected at 13 study sites, all but one of which are outside
the CCZ. There were significant relationships between altitude and fish species richness (r2 ¼ 0:448; P50.001)
and the number of endemic fish species (r2 ¼ 0:487; P50.001).
4. Owing to very limited human interference, the DMZ could provide good benchmark sites to enable
ecological restoration on other rivers and streams for maintenance of natural freshwater fish biodiversity. It is
suggested that a natural park is instituted around the DMZ areas for ecological protection and as a symbol of
peaceful coexistence between South and North Korea.
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received 17 October 2006; Revised 15 March 2007; Accepted 19 June 2007
endemic species; ecological restoration; freshwater fish biodiversity; Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ);
protected area
*Correspondence to: G.-J. Joo, Department of Biology, Pusan
National University, Busan 609-735, South Korea. E-mail:
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) divides the Korean
Peninsula and its people but also acts as a sanctuary for diverse
biological resources (Lee, 1995; John, 1998). When the Korean
War ceased in 1953, the United Nations Military Armistice
Commission established the DMZ and the Civilian Control
Zone (CCZ) along the South and North Korea divide (John
et al., 2003) to prohibit armed clashes. The DMZ and related
areas are large (7529 km2), comprising the DMZ (907 km2,
1/250 of the total area of the Korean peninsula), the CCZ
(1370 km2) and the Military Facility Protection Area (MFPA,
5315 km2; Park, 1997; John, 1998; Korea Forest Research
Institute, 1998). John et al. (2003) showed that the present
value of the benefits of keeping the current status of the
ecological resources of the Choelwon area (in the middle of the
DMZ (92 km2)) is approximately US$ 152.8 million. They
estimated the value from the sum of the farm and forestry
ecological resources, and the willingness to pay of tourists,
including a 12% interest rate for the next 50 years. Lee (2005)
reported that the economic impact of the DMZ eco-tourism
was estimated to be US$ 84.4 million. Until now, both the
South and North Korean Governments have been interested in
the DMZ area as a military installation rather than for
ecosystem conservation. South Korea has one biosphere
reserve (Mt. Seorak), three Ramsar sites (Woopo, Jangdo
Island and the high moor, Youngneup of Mt. Daeam) and 26
protected areas, covering more than 7000 km2, registered by
IUCN (1995). Unfortunately, the DMZ area is not included in
the IUCN category for conservation, even though it is
recognized as a valuable ecosystem with high biodiversity
(about 2800 biota including 146 rare species).
As reconciliation efforts and greater economic cooperation
between South and North Korea have developed in
recent years, there has been increased interest in joint
efforts at ecosystem conservation, and the DMZ areas
have become a particular focus of public attention. The
CCZ Ecosystem Conservation Plan was designed by the
National Commission for UNESCO and IUCN in 1997,
but it has had little success in stopping the development
of this area (Korea Forest Research Institute, 1999). In 2005,
the master plan of environmental conservation for the DMZ
areas was proposed by the South Korean Ministry of
Since the first study on the biota (including fish fauna) near
the DMZ areas was conducted in the 1960s, several reports on
fish have been submitted by government services (Ministry of
Unification, 1989; Korea Cultural Heritage Administration,
1992; Korea Forest Research Institute, 1996, 1998). However,
most fish studies were carried out in only a few study sites and
areas (i.e. only east/west and selected areas outside of the
DMZ area). This study is, therefore, the first to cover sampling
across all DMZ areas including the CCZ and MFPA at around
38o north latitude, it can also be compared with those in all
mountain-area national parks and large river systems in South
Korea. The eventual output should be the consideration of a
long-term conservation strategy for fish diversity around the
Korean DMZ.
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Study area
Sites were selected according to basic criteria: safe access for
sampling, and the inclusion of all river systems in the area.
Of the 53 study sites chosen at random, 13 were in the CCZ
and 40 were outside the CCZ (in the MFPA). Even though the
DMZ itself was not accessible owing to military restrictions, all
study sites were connected to the DMZ areas and freshwater
fish in the study sites could also move in and out of the DMZ.
Therefore, the fish fauna of the study sites provides an
estimation for that of the actual DMZ. There are three subregions of the DMZ and CCZ: the eastern mountain area,
central area and western area (Figure 1). Streams in the eastern
mountain area are divided into those that flow into the East
Sea (biogeographically the East-North Korea sub-district) and
those flowing into the Bukhangang (in Korean, ‘gang’ means
‘river’), which is one of the major tributaries of the Hangang
(flowing to the West Sea; West Korea biogeographic subdistrict). In the eastern mountain area, 24 sampling sites were
chosen, including 12 sites flowing into the East Sea (hereafter
referred to as the Eastern Region, sites 1 to 12; mean SD,
range; width, 7.9 4.0 m, 3.5–14.8 m; altitude, 28.3 16.4 m,
10–60 m) and 12 sites flowing into the West Sea (hereafter
referred to as Bukhangang, sites 13 to 24; width, 15.0 12.0 m, 3.2–39.7 m; altitude, 293.3 70.2 m, 200–420 m).
Twenty-nine sampling sites were chosen in the central and
western areas of the DMZ and CCZ, including 21 in the
Imjingang system (hereafter referred to as Imjingang, sites 25
to 45; width, 19.8 16.7 m, 2.1–56.9 m; altitude,
111.0 71.9 m, 200–420 m) and eight small stream sites
flowing into the West Sea (hereafter referred to as the
Western Estuary Region, sites 46 to 53; width, 17.7 12.1 m,
2.1–56.9 m; altitude, 16.3 7.4 m, 200–420 m). While the
average length of the five streams studied in the Eastern
Region is very short (mean SD, 11.4 3.2 km), those of the
Bukhangang and Imjingang are 371 km (basin area,
10 718 km2) and 254 km (8118 km2), respectively. Both rivers
rise in the North Korean mountains and flow to the West Sea
through South Korea. The stream catchments in the eastern
mountain areas were damaged by wildfires in 1996 and 2000.
Stream riparian zones around the DMZ areas have been
damaged by military forces through annually prescribed burns
to increase visibility.
Sampling design and data analysis
Quarterly samples over the course of a year were taken at 53
sites around the DMZ. These comprised 12 sites in the Eastern
Region (sites 1 to 12) and 11 sites in the Bukhangang (sites 13
to 23) between August 2001 and June 2002; one site in the
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
Figure 1. Map showing 53 sites for the ichthyofauna survey of DMZ areas. Heavy dotted line shows the Military Demarcation Line, dashed lines
show the southern and northern boundary lines, heavy solid line shows the CCL (Civilian Control Line) and grey stick line shows the MFPA
(Military Facility Protection Area). The Korean DMZ refers to the zones between the southern and northern boundary lines. This figure is available
in colour online at
Bukhangang (site 24) and 16 sites in the Imjingang (sites 25 to
40) between July 2002 and May 2003; five sites in the
Imjingang (sites 41 to 45) and eight sites in the Estuary
Region (sites 46 to 53) from May 2003 to May 2004
(Figure 1).
Physico-chemical parameters (water temperature, dissolved
oxygen, conductivity, pH, turbidity, stream width, and water
depth) were measured at each site. Water temperatures and
dissolved oxygen levels were measured with a YSI DO meter
(model 58). Conductivity, pH and turbidity were measured
using a YSI conductivity meter (model 30), Orion pH meter
(250A) and a Shaban turbidity meter (model 20052),
respectively. Alkalinity was measured as described in APHA
et al. (1995).
Fish were collected with a scoop-net (5 mm mesh;
1:35 m2 ¼ 1:5 0:9 m) and cast nets (7 mm mesh). The cast
nets (area, 4.5 m2) were cast 20 times and scoop-nets were
fished for 30 min at each site. Approximately 100 m of stream
segment, typically comprising pool, run and riffle habitats, was
sampled at each site. Fish captured were sedated in a 0.5 m L1
solution of 2-phenoxyethanol, identified and counted. After
processing, fish were released at the site of capture. All
specimens were identified according to Choi et al. (1990) and
Kim and Park (2002), based on the classification system of
Nelson (1994). Scientific names and authorities follow those of
Kim and Park (2002).
The habitat differences were examined by discriminant
function analysis (DFA; SPSS Release 12.00; SPSS Inc.,
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Chicago, IL, USA). The distribution of fish and the numbers
of endemic species from this study were compared with those
of 14 mountainous Korean national parks from KNPA (1997)
and Jang et al. (2003).
Definitions of exotic and translocated (transplanted) species,
used here, follow those of Shafland and Lewis (1984) and Jang
et al. (2003). References to conservation status categories (e.g.
Korean natural monument species and vulnerable species) are
based on the classification scheme developed by IUCN (1995)
and provided for Korean freshwater fish species in Kim and
Park (2002).
Physical and chemical parameters
Study sites were mostly small to mid-sized streams with a
width of 15.9 1.9 m (mean s.e., n ¼ 51) and water depth of
76.7 5.5 cm (n ¼ 51) except for two artificial lake sites (sites
8 and 18). At several sites (10, 12, 13 and 18) in the Eastern
areas more than 99% of the substrate was composed of sand
and fine gravel (diameter 57.9 mm) owing to the influx of sand
by repeated in-channel constructions. The substrate of all
study sites (sites 41 to 53) flowing into the Western Estuary
was composed of sand. Dissolved oxygen in all study sites was
fully saturated (mean s.e. of % saturation, 102 2.1%).
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
The range of pH was between 6.0 and 8.6 (mean s.e.,
6.9 0.08) in all study sites around the CCZ.
Conductivity was low in all Eastern mountain areas and
Central areas (5100 ms cm1) except for site 8, influenced by
brackish water. However, conductivities in all study sites
flowing into the Western Estuary were very high
(1285 392 mS cm1; range, 151–5140) owing to brackish
water and inflow of wastewaters from cattle sheds and
residential housing outside of the CCZ. The pattern for
alkalinity was similar to that for conductivity, indicating soft
water in most eastern mountain areas and central areas
(mean s.e., 25 2.6 mg L1). Mean s.e. turbidity values
of all study sites was 10.3 1.7 NTU (range; 0.6–43.9), with
low levels in eastern (2.4 0.5) and central areas (5.1 2.4)
and high in Western Estuary areas (Imjingang, 10.1 2.6
NTU; Western Estuary, 30.5 3.0 NTU).
macrocephala, Gobiobotia brevibarba, Pungitius sinensis,
Cottus poecilopus and Cottus hangiongensis). The relative
abundance of these species was highest in the Bukhangang
(1453 inds) and lowest in the Estuary region (none). Korean
natural monument species, Hemibarbus mylodon (four inds,
two sites) and Brachymystax lenok tsinlingensis (11 inds, two
sites) were collected. Three exotic species, Carassius cuvieri
(194 inds, 10 sites), Lepomis macrochirus (seven inds, one site)
and Micropterus salmoides (28 inds, seven sites) were collected,
mostly from the Western Estuary Region (182 inds, two
species), with none caught in the Eastern Region. Exotic
species were principally in brackish waters and dam sites of the
Western Estuary Region and the relative abundance was
substantially lower (RA 2.1%, three species) in this study. All
the sites (13 of 53 sites) except one site, where exotic species
were collected, are outside of the CCZ areas.
Fish fauna
In total, 10 946 fish were collected and classified into 99 species
and 26 families across study sites (Appendix). Zacco platypus
(relative abundance, RA 18.6%) was the most abundant fish
species in the study area, while other key species were
Rhynchocypris steindachneri (16.0%), Pungitius sinensis (RA,
12.5%) and Zacco temmincki (RA, 8.5%). In the Eastern
Region, 4024 fish, belonging to 36 species and 17 families were
collected and the dominant species was R. steindachneri (10 of
12 sites; RA, 43.6%). In the Bukhangang 31 species and 12
families (a total of 1136 fish) were found and Z. temmincki
(RA, 37.5%) was the dominant species. In the Imjingang, 68
species and 16 families were classified from 5001 fish collected
and Z. platypus (RA, 36.0%) was the dominant species.
Twenty-four species and 11 families were classified from 785
fish and Oryzias latipes (RA, 28.0%) was the dominant species
in the Western Estuary Region.
Overall, 30 species were found to be Korean endemics (7
families; RA, 13.4%). Relative abundance of the endemic
species was highest in the Imjingang (68.8%, 22 species) and
lowest in the Western Estuary region (0.1%, one species). The
dominant Korean endemic species was Coreoleuciscus
splendidus (23 sites; RAE, 15.2%) across all study sites. In
the Eastern Region, Iksookimia koreensis was the most
common species, followed in order of abundance by
Rhynchocypris semotilus and Coreoperca herzi. In the
Bukhangang the dominant species was Microphysogobio
longidorsalis (156 inds) and the subdominant species were
Coreoleucscus splendidus and Gobiobotia brevibarba. In the
Imjingang, the most abundant species was Acheilognathus
yamatsutae (183 inds), followed by Iksookimia koreensis and
Microphysogobio yaluensis.
Eight species regarded as vulnerable in Korea were recorded
(four families; RA, 14.3%: Lampetra reissneri, Acheilognathus
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Fish assemblage in the DMZ areas
Korean endemic fish were collected from 37 of the 53 sites
(from 1–142 individuals at each site). The DFA of habitat use
by Korean endemic species showed that six environmental
factors (conductivity, alkalinity, turbidity, altitude, stream
order and substrate composition) out of ten (also including
dissolved oxygen, pH, water depth and width) were important
in describing endemic fish distribution (Wilks’ lambda, df ¼
10; P50.001). About 84.9% of the original grouped case were
correctly classified. The correct ratio of the predicted group of
sites with endemic fish was 89.2% and that of sites without
endemic fish was 75.0%. Korean vulnerable species were
collected from 27 sites (1564 inds) and four environmental
factors (conductivity, alkalinity, turbidity and substrate
composition) were important for the distribution
of vulnerable species (Wilks’ lambda, df ¼ 10; P ¼ 0:001).
The correct ratio of the classified to the original grouped case
was about 86.8%. The correct ratio of the predicted group
of sites with and without vulnerable species was 92.3%
and 81.5%, respectively. In the exotic fish distribution of
species (13 sites, 229 inds), six factors (the four for vulnerable
species as well as pH and depth) were important (Wilks’
lambda, df ¼ 10; P50.001). About 86.8% of the original
grouped case was correctly classified. The correct ratio of the
predicted group of sites with endemic fish was 69.2% and that
of sites without endemic fish was 92.5%. The dominant species
in the upper and middle reaches of Korean streams are fairly
small (70–150 mm). In this study, almost all dominant species
at each site were of a similar size to other Korean dominant
Analysis of the total number of fish species and the number
of Korean endemic fish species at each site in this survey
demonstrated a dome-shaped relationship between altitude
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
and the number of fish species (r2 ¼ 0:448; P50.001) and
endemic species (r2 ¼ 0:487; P50.001; Figure 2). High species
richness was recorded around 200 m altitude for all species and
for endemic species alone. The total number of fish species
(100) in the DMZ areas was similar to the combined number
for all the 14 Korean mountain national parks (94 species;
Table 1). The level of endemism of freshwater fish in the 14
mountainous Korean national parks combined (33.0%, 31
species) was higher than for the DMZ and related areas
(28.0%, 28 species).
Species diversity and distribution
This study suggests that running waters in the DMZ and
related areas (CCZ, MFPA) are important for freshwater fish
diversity and conservation in South Korea, especially for
endemic species. Even though slightly lower endemism occurs
in the DMZ areas (28%) than those of the mountainous
Korean national parks (33.3%), they are richer than in the
Korean Peninsula as a whole (23.6%; Jang et al., 2003). In
total six endangered species and 12 vulnerable species have
been recorded in the Korean peninsula. Several vulnerable
endemic species (A. signifer, P. tenuicorpus, and G. brevibarba)
and coldwater fish including Korean natural monument
species (e.g. G. macrocephala, Rhynchocypris kumgangensis,
B. lenok tsinlingensis) were found in the DMZ areas. This
demonstrates the conservation value of the area as more than
10 individuals of these species were collected from many study
Considering that different dominant native and endemic
species were recorded in each region (Eastern, Bukhangang,
Imjingang and Western Estuary), the Korean DMZ areas
reflect a diversity of distinct fish communities and so are
Table 1. Comparison of the number (and percentage) of native,
endemic and exotic species between mountainous Korean national
parks (NPs) and DMZ areas. TNP refers to combined data from 14
mountainous Korean national parks (Jang et al., 2003). ‘Middle’ refers
to five NPs in the middle part of the Korean peninsula. ‘South’ refers
to six NPs in the southern part of the Korean peninsula. ‘Middle and
south’ refers to three NPs included in middle and southern parts of the
Korean peninsula
No. of species (%)
Total national parks (TNP)
Middle and south
Eastern region
Western estuary region
1 (4.2)
3 (3.0)
1 (3.2)
3 (4.4)
2 (8.3)
Total species
Endemic species
r 2 = 0.4478, P < 0.001
Number of species
r 2 = 0.4868, P < 0.001
Altitude (m)
Figure 2. Relationships between altitude and total number of species (*), and total number of endemic species (n) in each of the 53 study sites of
DMZ areas. The solid line shows the relationship between altitude and total number of species. The dashed line shows the relationship between
altitude and total number of endemic species.
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
valuable from a conservation perspective. Six environmental
factors (conductivity, alkalinity, turbidity, altitude, stream
order and substrate composition) were important for endemic
fish distribution. These results, especially intermediate
altitude and low turbidity and conductivity, showed general
characteristics of Korean protected areas upstream. The
occurrence of highest endemic species richness at elevated
(but intermediate) altitudes, around 200 m, is similar to that of
mountainous Korean national parks (Jang et al., 2003), where
the proportion of endemic species in relation to total species
was highest in mountain/headwater streams. The low
conductivity and turbidity was also highly correlated with
the distribution of endemic species, showing that the average
turbidity and conductivity of 16 sites without endemic species
was 3.9 and 14.7 times higher than for 37 sites having endemic
The introduction of exotic freshwater aquarium fish, edible
fish, and accidental release have the potential to act as an
additional forcing factor on Korean fish assemblages (Jang
et al., 2002, 2006). Given their rapid spread in several Korean
river systems in the last decade or so (Jang et al., 2002),
largemouth bass may have the capacity to alter the structure of
fish communities, and, together with other exotics, induce
trophic cascading effects through the ecosystem (Hodgson
et al., 1993; Maezono and Miyashita, 2003). Jang et al. (2006)
reported that stream width, depth and discharge were
important descriptors of largemouth bass distribution in
Korea and that sites with bass may be altered in their
composition. Fortunately, the sites in the DMZ areas
containing very few exotic species, may be good benchmark
sites for the ecological restoration of streams for maintaining natural fish diversity, as well as providing models of
well-conserved streams, relatively free from exotics.
Current status
Access to Korean DMZ areas is difficult owing to military
installations; therefore, the public feels that these areas are
well-conserved and maintained in a natural condition.
However, in fact, increased cultivation in the selected CCZ
areas may be changing from wetlands or grassland into rice
fields with roads for farmers’ access, potentially causing
alterations in hydrologic regimes and water quality (Park,
Military installations also have caused several physicochemical disturbances by defensive structures (e.g. military
camp, antitank obstacles) as well as discharging raw sewage
into the stream channels. Since the roads and stream channels
in the DMZ areas are very important potential invasion routes
for the military forces (e.g. mechanized units, tanks), antitank
obstacles are constructed on both sides of them. Accordingly,
other physical alterations have been made to the streams, such
as constructing concrete substrate, clearing riparian zones and
reducing water velocity within stream sections.
Deliberate burning of vegetation for visibility acquisition
(Westing, 1998; Korea Forest Research Institute, 2000) as well
as wildfires also affects the DMZ stream ecosystem. Fires can
dramatically and rapidly influence native freshwater fish as
well as water chemistry, change the discharge regime, and
decrease stream channel stability, riparian shading and the
recruitment and delivery of coarse woody debris (Rieman and
Clayton, 1997; Rieman et al., 2003). In particular, fish species
with narrow habitat requirements in highly degraded and
fragmented systems are likely to be most vulnerable to fire and
fire-related disturbances (Dunham et al., 2003).
Although exotic fish, including largemouth bass, at present
have a limited distribution in the DMZ areas with resultant
minor impact on native fish species, there is a need to restrict
the spread of exotic fish to aid native fish conservation.
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Conservation and restoration
Recently, the Korean government and non-government
organizations (NGOs) have commenced restoration of urban
stream ecosystems (e.g. Yangjae stream and Cheonggye
stream, Seoul, South Korea), and these trials are widespread
in the middle and lower reaches of Korean rivers. However,
researchers and ecological engineers have difficulty in
searching for appropriate models or samples of wellprotected areas for stream conservation and restoration,
since streams remaining in a natural state are few and most
of them are in the upper parts of catchments or mountain
regions. In this respect, the DMZ areas might be the best
benchmarking area for conservation of freshwater biodiversity
(including fish) and restoring near-natural river/stream
ecosystems for two reasons. First, most streams in these
areas are relatively natural, having low incidence of exotic
species and low levels of artificial disturbance (accepting that
currently there are some damaging practices in some areas).
Second, topographically, the areas are located across the
Korean Peninsula and comprise whole catchments from
mountain streams to river mouths.
Compared with other countries, the extent of protected
areas on the Korean peninsula is rather low and should be
increased. Based on data from the World Resources Institute
(, the extent of protected areas within
countries tends to depend on the gross area of the country
(Table 2). The extent of the protected area (13 120 km2) on the
Korean peninsula is much smaller than for several other
countries in East Asia and Europe (Table 2). The Natural
Environmental Protected Law 2006 in Korea provides seven
categories of designated areas for protection and conservation:
National Park, Preservation of Natural Ecosystem, Biosphere
Reserve, Reserved Natural Forest, Nature Protected Area,
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
Table 2. Absolute values of ‘protected area’ ( 1000 km2) for four Asian and five European countries. The proportion (%) of protected area to gross
area of each country is given in parantheses
S. and N. Korea
Order (%)
I and II
III, IV and V
VI and others
1.50 (0.68)
6.38 (1.69)
190.52 (12.18)
449.39 (4.68)
2.59 (0.47)
1.30 (0.36)
0.32 (0.35)
1.60 (0.32)
0.0 (0.0)
6.47 (2.91)
22.11 (5.85)
7.99 (0.51)
122.67 (1.28)
0.0 (0.0)
12.16 (3.41)
0.71 (0.77)
6.05 (1.20)
24.15 (9.87)
7.59 (3.42)
All data are based on World Resources Institute homepage ( and Hayes and Egli (2002). Classes I–VI denote internationally
agreed levels of environmental protection from order I (highly protected wilderness area) to VI (controlled environmental activities) (see Hayes and
Egli (2002) for further details).
Wetland Protected Area, and Wildlife Protected Area. The
natural resources of the area are protected by an Act of
Parliament called the Wildlife Protected Area Act. The public
are allowed to carry out activities such as agriculture or
reconstruction of their own house without permission from the
government’s Ministry of Environment. With prior permission
from the government office they can harvest natural resources
and carry out research. However, in the other six categories of
designated area, all activities are restricted.
Yet several problems still remain; protected areas had
overlapping designations and management was also difficult
because about 70% of them are in private ownership.
Therefore, if the CCZ and MFPA were included in the
DMZ areas, management for protection and conservation
would be more effective because only 46% of DMZ areas are
privately owned (16% in the central area of the DMZ).
The DMZ area will be designated as a UNESCO Biosphere
Reserve with cooperation from South and North Korea. The
South Korean government has already discussed the ‘Man and
the Biosphere Program’ with North Korea as well. The
government has been considering how to protect and
conserve the DMZ area after the unification of North and
South Korea: for example, by examining land ownership and
by compiling an inventory of biodiversity. They manage a
conservation plan for 10 ‘flagship’ species that are
internationally vulnerable and domestically rare. The DMZ
is an internationally important breeding sites for black-faced
spoonbill, and a wintering site for red-crowned crane, whitenaped crane and hooded crane. The area is also important for
the conservation of long-tailed goral, swan goose, water deer
and lenok within Korea.
The Korean DMZ areas are believed to represent a zone of
national and international significance worthy of protection,
owing to their ecological value. The conservation of the DMZ
ecosystem, and its historical and cultural values, could also
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
generate economic value through sustainable eco-tourism
without industrial or environmental pollution. In the
meantime it is suggested that the governments of South and
North Korea should manage the area for the maintenance of
ecological condition and minimize military installation
including prescribed burns and physical alteration. In the
longer term the creation of a protected park around the
Korean DMZ areas could also be proposed as a symbol of
peaceful coexistence between South and North Korea.
We are grateful to members of the PNU Limnology
Laboratory for field assistance. We thank Dr. Martyn
C. Lucas for valuable comments and linguistic corrections to
this manuscript. This project is supported by the Korean
Ministry of Environment as ‘The Eco-technopia 21 project’.
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Species name
Lampetra reissneri (Dybowski, 1869)
Engraulis japonicus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Konosirus punctatus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus, 1758)
Carassius auratus (Linnaeus, 1758)
C. cuvieri (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Rhodeus uyekii (Mori, 1935)
R. ocellatus (Kner, 1866)
Acheilognathus lanceolata (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
A. signifer (Berg, 1907)
A. yamatsutae (Mori, 1928)
A. rhombeus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Acanthorhodeus macropterus (Bleeker, 1871)
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
A. gracilis (Regan, 1908)
Pseudorasbora parva (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Pungtungia herzi (Herzenstein, 1892)
Pseudopungtungia tenuicorpa (Jeon and Choi, 1980)
Coreoleuciscus splendidus (Mori, 1935)
Ladislavia taczanowskii (Dybowski, 1869)
Sarcocheilichthys variegatus wakiyae (Mori, 1927)
S. nigripinnis morii (Jordan and Hubbs, 1925)
Squalidus gracilis majimae (Jordan and Hubbs, 1925)
S. japonicus coreanus (Berg, 1906)
Gnathopogon strigatus (Regan, 1908)
Hemibarbus labeo (Pallas, 1776)
H. longirostris (Regan, 1908)
H. mylodon (Berg, 1907)
Pseudogobio esocinus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Abbottina rivularis (Basilewsky, 1855)
A. springeri (Banarescu and Nalbant, 1973)
Gobiobotia macrocephala (Mori, 1935)
G. brevibarba (Mori, 1935)
Microphysogobio yaluensis (Mori, 1928)
M. longidorsalis (Mori, 1935)
M. jeoni (Kim and Yang, 1999)
Saurogobio dabryi (Bleeker, 1871)
Tribolodon hakonensis (Günther, 1877)
Phoxinus phoxinus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Rhynchocypris oxycephalus (Sauvage and Dabry, 1874)
R. steindachneri (Dybowski, 1883)
R. kumgangensis (Kim, 1980)
R. semotilus (Jordan and Starks, 1905)
Aphyocypris chinensis (Günther, 1868)
Zacco temmincki (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Z. platypus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1902)
Opsariichthys uncirostris amurensis (Berg, 1940)
Erythroculter erythropterus (Basilewsky, 1855)
Hemiculter leucisculus (Basilewsky, 1855)
H. eigenmanni (Jordan and Metz, 1913)
Orthrias toni (Dybowski, 1869)
Lefua costata (Kessler, 1876)
Misgurnus anguillicaudatus (Cantor, 1842)
M. mizolepis (Günther, 1888)
Koreocobitis rotundicaudata (Wakiya and Mori, 1929)
Iksookimia koreensis (Kim, 1975)
Cobitis lutheri (Rendahl, 1935)
C. pacifica (Kim, Park, and Nalbant, 1999)
Pseudobagrus fulvidraco (Richardson, 1846)
P. koreanus (Uchida, 1990)
Leiocassis ussuriensis (Dybowski, 1871)
L. nitidus (Sauvage and Thiersant, 1874)
Silurus asotus (Linnaeus, 1758)
S. microdorsalis (Mori, 1936)
Liobagrus mediadiposalis (Mori, 1936)
L. andersoni (Regan, 1908)
Plecoglossus altivelis (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Brachymystax lenok tsinlingensis (Li, 1966)
Oncorhynchus keta (Walbaum, 1792)
O. masou masou (Brevoort, 1856)
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Oryzias latipes (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846)
Gasterosteus aculeatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Pungitius sinensis (Guichenot, 1869)
Cottus poecilopus (Heckel, 1837)
C. hangiongesis (Mori, 1930)
Trachidermus fasciatus (Heckel, 1837)
Lateolabrax japonicus (Cuvier, 1828)
Siniperca scherzeri (Steindachner, 1892)
Coreoperca herzi (Herzenstein, 1896)
Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque, 1819)
Micropterus salmoides (Lacepède, 1802)
Repomucenus olidus (Günther, 1873)
Odontobutis platycephala (Iwata and Jeon, 1985)
O. interrupta (Iwata and Jeon, 1985)
Acanthopagrus schlegeli (Bleeker, 1854)
Gymnogobius urotaenia (Hilgendorf, 1879)
Acanthogobius flavimanus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1845)
Synechogobius hasta (Temminck and Schlegel, 1845)
Rhinogobius giurinus (Rutter, 1897)
R. brunneus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1845)
Tridentiger bifasciatus (Steindachner, 1881)
T. obscurus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1845)
T. brevispinis (Katsuyama, Arai and Nakamura, 1972)
Acentrogobius pflaumi (Bleeker, 1853)
Macropodus ocellatus (Cantor, 1842)
Channa argus (Cantor, 1842)
Takifugu niphobles (Jordan and Snyder, 1901)
T. obscurus (Abe, 1949)
Diodon holocanthus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Number of species
y Korean endemic species; z vulnerable species; # exotic species
E: Eastern Region; B: Bukhangang system; I: Imjingang system; W: Western Estuary Region.
Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 18: 819–828 (2008)
DOI: 10.1002/aqc
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statue, implications, freshwater, demilitarized, conservative, around, zone, korea, fish
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