International Crane Foundation

On my last visit to North Korea in 2005, fellow Atlanta native Ted Turner was also in Pyongyang (not at the Yangakdo unfortunatley, but the centrally-located Koryo Hotel) working to secure the DMZ as a crane reserve.  It turns out that this effort is fairly well organizaed and funded.  Below, I have attached some articles, names, and organizations involved in this movement:

The International Crane Foundation

Since 1974, ICF has been involved in conservation efforts for the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the three mile wide strip of land between the divided neighbors that provides a home during migration or winter for half of the world’s White-naped Cranes and a quarter of the world’s Red-crowned Cranes.

Conservation in Korea

“For more than three decades, I have been coming to Korea to see the cranes that spend the winter along the DMZ. About one-third of the world’s 2,500 Red-crowned Cranes depend on the DMZ and the nearby Civilian Controlled Zone (CCZ) as their only remaining sanctuary on the peninsula. The Cheorwon Basin in the central highlands has the greatest numbers of cranes, while smaller flocks live in the Yuen Cheon valley, the lower reaches of the Imjin River, and the tidal flats around Kangwha Island.

The Red-crowned Crane is an auspicious symbol of good luck and long life throughout the Orient and cranes worldwide are a symbol of peace. Now perhaps the Red-crowned Crane can be a flagship for the conservation of the DMZ.

I have always tried to help my Korean colleagues in their efforts to save that priceless strip of land that’s carpeted by a grasslands, wetlands, and forests restored by the creative forces of nature over more that a half-century. Although it has been exciting to see modernization sweep it’s magic wand over Korea, it is alarming that humans now have such power to transform landscapes so quickly.

If the remaining natural landscapes of the DMZ and the CCZ are to be saved for nature, Korean conservationists from all walks of life must join together in a united front to negotiate with those more interested in development. This is now possible through a movement started in 1996 by two Korean Americans, Dr. Ke Chung Kim (a scholar) and Mr. Seung-ho Lee (a businessman).

To promote the conservation of the DMZ, they created a non-governmental organization called the DMZ Forum. I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors.

Under the leadership of Mr. Hall Healy (an environmental planner), the DMZ has created a Coalition for the Conservation of the DMZ. Although this Coalition had its birth in the USA, its operation will be “Koreanized” with leadership from an effective and prestigious Korean citizen and supported by a coalition of individuals and organizations primarily from Korea, but also from other nations. Only through the power of partnership, can these treasures of nature from “The Land of the Morning Calm” be saved.”

Recently, ICF held an event.  Here is the email they sent out (h/t Mike):

For years, hundreds of the magnificent Red-crowned Cranes wintered in lowland wetlands and organically-maintained agricultural fields in the DPRK.  With the rise of chemical fertilization after the Korean War through its alliance with the USSR, crops were plentiful in the DPRK, and the field gleanings provided sustenance for the cranes.  With the collapse of the USSR, the cheap source of fertilizer dried up, and after two decades of chemical dependence the organic farming methods had been lost.  Hungry humans foraged for food where the cranes had once wintered.  The cranes moved south, in and around the DMZ and the Civilian Controlled Zone (CCZ).  These two zones, however, have been targeted by developers as potential sites for future cities.  The plan for the re-introduction of wintering cranes in the DPRK addresses teaching the local people organic farming methods anew and relies on using captive cranes to attract wild cranes during their autumn migration.

Through collaboration among colleagues of the Korean University in Tokyo, the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), BirdLife International, the International Crane Foundation, and Pisan Cooperative Farm of the DPRK, work is underway to restore the Red-crowned Cranes as winter visitors on the Anbyon Plain located in DPRK.  The project began in the spring and summer of 2008, and it is hoped that it will lead to communication between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea on the conservation of red-crowned Cranes in both nations.

From the event’s web page:

Through collaboration among colleagues of the Korean University in Tokyo, the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), BirdLife International, the International Crane Foundation, and Pisan Cooperative Farm of the DPRK, work is underway to restore the Red-crowned Cranes as winter visitors on the Anbyon Plain located in DPRK.  The project began in the spring and summer of 2008, and it is hoped that it will lead to communication between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea on the conservation of red-crowned Cranes in both nations.

For years, hundreds of the magnificent Red-crowned Cranes wintered in lowland wetlands and organically-maintained agricultural fields in the DPRK.  With the rise of chemical fertilization after the Korean War through its alliance with the USSR, crops were plentiful in the DPRK, and the field gleanings provided sustenance for the cranes.  With the collapse of the USSR, the cheap source of fertilizer dried up, and after two decades of chemical dependence the organic farming methods had been lost.  Hungry humans foraged for food where the cranes had once wintered.  The cranes moved south, in and around the DMZ and the Civilian Controlled Zone (CCZ).  These two zones, however, have been targeted by developers as potential sites for future cities.  The plan for the re-introduction of wintering cranes in the DPRK addresses teaching the local people organic faming methods anew and relies on using captive cranes to attract wild cranes during their autumn migration.

More links:
The DMZ Forum web page

DMZ Coalition

Media hits

Share

Comments are closed.


An affiliate of 38 North