The Annotated Ramsar List: Republic of Korea


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for the Republic of Korea on 28 July 1997. The Republic of Korea presently has 19 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 18,315 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

1100 Altitude Wetland. 12/10/09; Jeju-do (Island); 13 ha; 33°21’N 126°28’E. Within National Park, UNESCO World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve. A mountainous wetland consisting of a number of unique freshwater marshes and pools, situated on Jeju Island. As the name suggests, the site is located at 1100m asl within the Mt Halla World Heritage site. The wetland is in an area of low gradient enabling the capture and retention of freshwater, to form small permanent lakes and peat bogs that support diverse floristic assemblages and significant endemism. The site supports 3 threatened bird and one plant species within Korea, as well as a number of mammal, reptile and insect species endemic to Jeju Island. The site is culturally and religiously important to the local communities. Visits to the site are increasing, with 900,000 visitors in 2008. Visitation is managed by Mt Halla Visitor Centre. 1100 Altitude Wetland was designated as a Wetland Protected Area in 2009 and is managed under 3 management plans as part of the World Heritage and Biosphere programs. Ramsar site no. 1893. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Dongbaekdongsan. 14/03/11; Jeju-do (Island); 59ha; 33°31'N 126°43'E. Nationally-designated Wetland Conservation Area. Dongbaekdongsan is located on the volcanic island of Jeju, off the southern coast of the Republic of Korea. The site is important for the recharge and conservation of groundwater, as well as for its biodiversity, especially the unique ‘Gotjawal’ forests. The importance of Dongbaekdongsan is mainly due to the mixture of Aa Lava and Pahoehoe Lava rock types that are present at the site. The Aa Lava rocks have crevices and lava tubes, which allows rainwater to seep through and with the Gotjawal forest cover, contribute to a higher rate of groundwater recharge. The groundwater at Dongbaekdongsan is used as one of the many groundwater sources for the approximately half a million people on Jeju Island. The Pahoehoe Lava rocks have however fewer cracks and so are better able to retain rainwater. This leads to the formation of streams, ponds and vernal pools and unlike many other Gotjawal forests, the surface water found in the Dongbaekdongsan forest areas is able to support a range of wildlife. This includes important species like the critically endangered Isoetes sinensis (F: Isoetaceae), the endemic Cheju Salamander (Hynobius quelpartensis) and Mankyua chejuense (F: Ophioglossaceae), a recently discovered genus. It also supports legally protected “Natural Monument” species, which are identified as having some natural heritage value such as the Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) and the nationally endangered Boreal Digging Frog (Kaloula borealis). “Natural Monuments” are strongly linked to Korean cultural heritage and are consequently protected under national law. The Department of Environmental Policy and Department of Environmental Management, as part of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, is responsible for the management of this site. Ramsar Site no.1948. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Du-ung Wetland. 20/12/07; Chungcheongnam-do; 6 ha; 36°49'N 126°11'E. Wetland Conservation Area. A topographically unique wetland: a freshwater lagoon fed by underground water, separated from the Yellow Sea by a sandy dune system. A large number of nationally endangered and rare species are found, including Korean golden frog (rana plancyi chosenica), Narrow-mouth Boreal digging frog (kaloula borealis), and the Tiger lizard (eremias argus). In all, 311 plant species, eight mammals, 39 bird species, 14 amphibians, and 110 species of insects, with 49 species of invertebrates, have been recorded. Under the Wetland Conservation Act, no recreation or tourism is allowed in the area, officially, but officials report that a visitors' centre is planned and eco-guide training sessions and study tours are being developed. Ramsar site no. 1724. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

Ganghwa Maehwamarum Habitat. 13/10/08; Incheon Metropolitan City; 1 ha; 37°38’N 126°32’E. A human-made rice paddy wetland near the city of Incheon that was purchased by the Korea National Trust Foundation chiefly for its importance as habitat for the herbaceous water plant Maehwamareum (Ranunculus kazusensis makino), once common throughout the country but now considered to be endangered and found in only 30 places nationally. Because of eco-friendly rice farming at the site, it also functions as a refuge for aquatic plants and insects and benthic invertebrates and fish, which become food sources for migratory birds. The site is also used for educational purposes, and an educational centre is in preparation. With a real area of 0.3015 hectares (rounded up to 1 ha.), this is the smallest Ramsar site at the time of designation. Ramsar site no. 1846. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Gochang & Buan Tidal Flats. 01/02/10; 4,550 ha; 35°33’N 126°35’E. This Ramsar Site includes two protected areas, the Buan Julpo Bay Wetland Protected Area and the Gochang Tidal Flat Wetland Protected Area.It is located in Gomso Bay and is one of the important tidal flats for migratory waterbirds along the west coast of the Republic of Korea. The site provides roosting sites for globally threatened species such as the endangered Oriental white Stork (Ciconia boyciana) and the vulnerable Saunders’s gull (Larus saundersi). It is also important for supporting populations of shorebirds, such as the Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) and Dunlin (Calidris alpina). The Gochang & Buan Tidal Flats are biologically rich with sixty-eight species of macrobenthic fauna, including shellfish crustaceans and polychaetas; twenty-two species of halophytes and seventy-seven species of birds. The site is also important for fish as spawning and nursery grounds. The tidal flat is used for fishing and farming of Manila clam (Tapes philippinarum), and Corb shell (Cyclina sinensis). In the surrounding areas, there are concerns about seepage of contaminants from a landfill located close to Buan tidal flat. TheGochang-gun (county) office and Buan-gun (county) office share jurisdiction over the site. Ramsar Site no. 1931. Most recent RIS information: 2010.

Han River-Bamseom Islets. 21/06/12; Seoul; 27 ha; 37°32'21"N 126°55'41"E. A pair of sandy islets of similar size located in the Han River in central Seoul, the only remaining naturally occurring riverine islands in the Han River ecosystem that have not been altered by human settlement. The waters around the islets provide a spawning and nursery ground for a number of Korean indigenous fish species, including the Korean striped bitterling (Acheilognathus yamatsutae), the Korean spined bitterling (Acanthorhodeus gracilis), and the Korean oily shiner (Sarcocheilichthys nigripinnus morii). The site is a centrally located urban wetland that provides a wintering habitat for many common waterfowls, whilst in the summer it provides a breeding ground for a number of species such as Spot-billed Ducks (Anas poecilorhyncha) and the Black-crowned Night Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax). Invasive species such as Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), hops (Humulus scandens), ragweeds (Ambrosia trifida fo. Integrifolia (Muhl.) Fernald), and one-seeded bur-cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) are seen as potential threats. The islets are protected as an 'Ecosystem and Landscape Region for Conservation' under city legislation. Ramsar Site no. 2050. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Jangdo Island High Moor. 30/03/05; Chollanam-do; 9 ha; 34°41'N 125°23'E. Part of Tadohae-Haesang National Park. This pristine mountainous wetland (230-267m asl) is the largest high moor associated with the Korean Peninsula, surrounded by beautiful marine landscapes with five major areas of high moor, mountainous area, small streams, transferred zone and residential area. The high moor contains thick layers of peat (depth 70 cm- 80 cm) on clay beds, which make it the largest source of high quality freshwater in the island critical for the surviving species of 294 plants, 146 of insects, 5 of amphibians and reptiles, 44 of birds. Human settlements lie around the lower ridges of the high moor. It provides a habitat for national Natural Monuments and IUCN Red-listed species like Falco peregrinus, the otter Lutra lutra, the orchid Dendrobium minutiflorum, Hobbseus cristatus, and Marsdenia robusta. Nearly 50% of the wetland is forested peatlands dominated by Machilus thunbergii, Salix spp. and Camellia japonica. Prior to designation as a National Wetland Conservation Area in 2004, the main land use involved grazing -- currently, all activities are strictly prohibited for protection. The site was recently proposed for ecotourism with plans for awareness raising, bird observation and site patrolling. The jurisdiction is under the South Cholla Province and managed by the Nature Environment Division, Environment Bureau of Yeongsang River Basin Environment Office. Ramsar Site No. 1458. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

Jeungdo Tidal Flat. 01/09/11; Jeollanam-do; 3,130 ha; 34°58'30"N 126°10'16"E. Natural Park; UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The rich ecology and biodiversity of the tidal flats surrounding islands in the southwest of the country provide spawning ground for fish and contribute to macro benthic animal diversity. The site also provides food and resting grounds for waders and migratory birds that pass by this area for breeding and wintering, supporting five internationally endangered species including the Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Baikal Teal Anas Formosa, Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (App II CMS) and Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrines (App I CITES). Jeungdo has a long history of fisheries, and fishing in the area holds great cultural, social and traditional importance for the local people. The amphibious air-breather Goggle-eyed Goby or mudskipper (Boleophthalmus pectinirostris) has minor commercial uses, and the amphibious Shuttles hoppfish (Periophthalmus modestus) is also present. This region was part of the 'Marine Silk Road', a seaward passage for trade and cultural exchanges between China and other countries in ancient times. With sandy beaches and beautiful landscape, the site attracts many tourists, as well as students of the tidal environment. Construction of a barge dock and its facilities, along with "Nodoo" Road has hampered the sea flow. The site has a Five Year Management Plan which was established at the end of 2010. Ramsar Site no. 1974. Most recent RIS: 2011

Moojechineup. 20/12/07; Ulsan; 4 ha; 35°27'N 129°08'E. Wetland Conservation Area. A 10,000-year-old high moor, the oldest in Korea, with well-developed peat layers and slightly acidic surface water. Various rare flora and fauna, including locally and nationally endangered species, have been identified, including a high diversity of insects with some 197 species. The name of the site comes from a ritual praying for rain in the Ulsan area. Ramsar site no. 1725. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

Muan Tidal Flat. 14/01/08; Joellanam-do; 3,589 ha; 35°06’N 126°23’E. Wetland Protected Area. An intertidal sand- and mudflat ecosystem, free of human disturbance, on the coastline of the Yellow Sea , located in the mouth of semi-enclosed inner bay. Some 49 species of winter waterbirds have been observed, and the site provides habitat to various endangered and rare species such Saunder’s Gull (Larus saundersi), Black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) and Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes). It is a notable spawning ground for marine organisms, with some 357 species recorded, providing valuable food resources for the migratory birds. A ‘reclamation’ with small-scale sea dyke constructions was carried out for the development of Woldoo village fishing port, but detrimental effects have not appeared so far. A comprehensive management plan has been in effect since 2002, implemented by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF), and a number of monitoring programmes are continuing. Ramsar site no. 1732. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Muljangori-oreum wetland. 13/10/08; Jeju-do (Island); 63 ha; 33°24’N 126°36’E. Within National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve. A volcanic crater lake at above 900m altitude on Jeju Island, with a forest of broad-leaved deciduous trees. On the water-scarce island, the crater lakes on such “parasitic cones” around Mt Hallasan provide an important store of rain water, and this site retains some water even through the dry season. A number of endangered fauna and flora species are present, including Peregrine falcon, Fairy pitta, Black kites, and Black paradise flycatchers, as well as Japanese forest peony (paeonia obovata). It is considered to be one of three holy mountains on the island and is associated with legends of the giant goddess Seolmundae. Only limited human access is permitted to the area. Ramsar site no. 1847. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Mulyeongari-oreum. 18/11/06; Jeju Island; 31 ha; 33°22'N 126°42'E. Wetland Conservation Area. A small crater lake located on top of an "oreum", or secondary volcano, around Halla mountain formed from volcanic eruptions between 100 and 2.5 thousand years ago. The site, with seasonally varying water levels, provides habitat for two endangered species, the giant water bug (Lethocerus deyrollei) and Narrow-mouth frog (Kaloula borealis). It is also known as "Su-ryeong-ak" which means a hill with holy water. All development activities have been prohibited since the site was designated as the country's first wetland conservation area in 2000 and public access will be prohibited through July 2007 to allow building of a visitors' centre and nature trails. A comprehensive wetland conservation plan has been prepared by the Ministry of Environment. Ramsar site no. 1648. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Odaesan National Park Wetlands. 13/10/08; Gwangwon-do; 2 ha; 37°48’N 128°38’E. National Park. A complex of three small fens at about 1000m altitude on Odaesan mountain, including some of the best conserved peatlands in the country. They are home to a large number of species of flora that are considered to be endangered or at risk, as well as fauna such as Musk deer, Long-tailed goral, and Water deer, all classed by Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The site is owned by the state and public access is not permitted. Ramsar site no. 1848. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Seocheon Tidal Flat. 02/12/09; Chungcheongnam-do Province; 1,530 hectares; 36°00´N 126°30´E; The Seocheon Tidal Flat was also designated by the Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs as a Wetland Protected Area on January 30, 2008. The site is located in the middle of the western coast of the Republic of Korea. Seocheon Tidal Flat is an open tidal flat directly linked to the ocean, its ecosystem is composed of a combination of sand and/or muddy sand flats which are very important breeding and feeding habitats for migratory birds. The site is also a spawning and nursery ground for fish. This Ramsar Site supports globally threatened bird species such as the vulnerable Saunders’ Gull (Larus saundersi), the critically endangered Spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) and the endangered Spotted Greenshank (Tringa guttifer). This wetland supports 1% of the population of Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), providing an important habitat for over 3,000 individuals as a stopover site during winter and as a breeding area. There are 125 species of fish which include the River Puffer (Takifugu obscurus), Korean Rockfish (Sebastes schlegelii), and other marine life such as the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) and 95 species of macro benthic animals. Locals take advantage of the farming tracts and paddy fields in surrounding areas. Various marine food can be harvested including shellfish such as clams (Ruditapes philippinarum and Dongjuk, Mactra veneriformis), octopus (Octopus membranaceus) and crustaceans such as the Korean Shrimp (Penaeus chinensis). Threats to the area include extraction of living organisms from the tidal flat and increased pollution in the surrounding areas. The Division of Fisheries and Ocean Division (Chungcheongnam-do province) is directly responsible for managing this diverse and culturally rich wetland. Ramsar Site no. 1925. Most recent RIS information: 2010.

Songdo Tidal Flat. 10/07/2014; Incheon; 611 ha; 37°24’26”N 126°35’58”E. Coastal Wetland Protected Area. The Site includes two sections of a larger area of tidal mud flat along the coast of Incheon Metropolitan City, which has a complicated coastline with about 170 large and small islands. It is an important feeding and roosting ground for threatened waterbirds such as endangered black-face spoonbill (Platalea minor) as well as the vulnerable far eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) and Saunders’s gull (Larus saundersi).  It also regularly supports 1% of the population of the Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata as well as of the far eastern curlew. Traditionally, the Site has been used by fishermen and clam collectors, who fish with their bare hands. Major species collected are the surf clam (Mactra veneriformis), corb shell (Cyclina sinensis) and Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum). Threats to the Site include reclamation and the building of facilities at the adjacent Songdo International City. Ramsar Site no. 2209. Most recent RIS information: 2014.

Suncheon Bay.
20/01/06; Jeollanam-do; 3,550 ha; 34°48'N 127°24'E. Wetland Protected Area. A wide estuarine tidal flat and intertidal marshes, creating one of the most diverse and beautiful coastal ecosystems in the country. Two rivers flow through the city and surrounding rice fields at the northern part of the bay, and numerous streams flow through the site, sustaining clean water quality and influx quantity. The tidal flats are largely muddy with shallow salt marshes supporting a wide-range of species, including at least 25 threatened birds, e.g. Black-faced Spoonbill, Nordmann's Greenshank, Spoonbill Sandpiper, and Relict Gull. It is the only wintering site for Grus Monacha and supports over 1% of the population of Common Shelduck, Hooded Crane, Eurasian Curlew, Saunder's Gull and Kentish Plover. It has important scenic, tourist, and cultural heritage values, and the annual production of fish, seaweed, and mollusks, mainly harvested using traditional techniques, is substantial. Rapid urban expansion is noted as a potential threat. The Suncheon Bay Natural Eco-park was established in 2004 and a management plan is underway which focuses on protection of biological resources, pollution abatement, institutional improvement, and public awareness. Ramsar site no. 1594. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

The High Moor, Yongneup of Mt. Daeam. 28/03/97; Kangwon-do; 106 ha; 38º13’N 128º07’E. Natural Environment Preservation Area; Natural Ecosystem Conservation Area; Natural Monument Protection Area. Composed of two bogs and surrounded by deciduous broad-leaved forest, the area is the only high moor in the country. Thick layers of peat formed over 4,000 years ago prevent surface water infiltration, creating a specific topography. The site exhibits high species diversity and supports numerous species of rare plants and many newly discovered species of animals. Public access is strictly controlled. Ramsar site no. 898. Most recent RIS information: 1997.

Ungok Wetland. 07/04/11; Jeollabuk-do; 180 ha; 35°28’N 126°39’E. The whole site is designated as a Wetland Conservation Area and part of the site is an Electric Source Development Area and an Agricultural Conservation Land Area. Ungok Wetland is located in the southwest part of the Republic of Korea and consists of Ungok Lake and Obaygol low-moor (Obaygol wetland). Obaygol low-moor was used for rice paddy cultivation in the past, and overtime the site was completely abandoned. This site supports important species like the vulnerable Chinese Water Deer (Hydropotes inermis) and Seoul Frog (Pelophylax chosenicus), and “Natural Monument” species such as the Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis). “Natural Monuments” are strongly linked to Korean cultural heritage and are consequently protected under national law. Designated as an Electric Source Development Area, the quantity and quality of water is being managed to supply a nuclear power plant. Ungok Wetland is mostly surrounded by natural forest and a Dolmen World Heritage Site is also located here. This site is thought to be the biggest dolmen community in Asia and is thought to be home to human beings who lived by hunting and gathering during prehistoric times. The Department of Nature Environment, Jeonju Regional Environmental Agency and Department of Environment and Hygiene, Gochang-gun Office, is responsible for the management of this site. Ramsar Site no.1947. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Upo Wetland. 02/03/98; Kyongsangnam-do; 854 ha; 35º33’N 128º25’E. Nature Conservation Area. A large oxbow lake, small ponds, and marshes comprise the largest undisturbed wetland in the country. Surface water is persistent even in the dry season. The site exhibits high biodiversity, providing important feeding and spawning areas for fish and supporting rare and endangered flora. Many species of birds breed, stage or winter in the area. Human activities include tourism, agriculture, and snail and shellfish harvesting. Ramsar site no. 934. Most recent RIS information: 1997.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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