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Democratic People's Republic of Korea - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Korea has very diverse forest ecosystems, partly due to the vast mountain ranges that cover 80% of the country’s topography. In addition, the country has inland water, agricultural, marine and coastal ecosystems. A recent survey indicates that there are 8,785 plant species, 9,970 animal species and 416 bird species. Due to its long history of agricultural development, DPR Korea is rich in crop genetic resources. DPR Korea has a high level of endemism, with 315 vascular plants and 41 vertebrate species endemic to the country. There are 158 higher plants and 157 vertebrate species identified as endangered or rare. Threats to biodiversity include loss and fragmentation of habitats, indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, increasing production, natural calamities and environmental pollution.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

DPR Korea has established a total of 233 protected areas.

Percentage of Forest Cover

The forest cover is 7,624,000 ha.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Based on assessments of the country’s biodiversity status and existing legal and policy frameworks to address biodiversity-related issues, DPR Korea’s NBSAP proposed a set of goals and objectives for future actions in achieving the objectives of the Convention. The document also includes proposed priority projects and activities, including those to address conservation, sustainable use, benefit-sharing, protected areas, research, information networks and biosafety.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

As of June 2003, DPR Korea’s protected areas coverage reached 7.2% of its 8% target. Considering that mostly mountains and forests cover the country, great efforts have been made in reforestation. In its ten-year plan (2001-2010) for forest development, DPR Korea aims to increase to 1.5 million hectares of forest plantation areas. DPR Korea has established 12 wetland reserves for migratory birds and conservation areas for some fish. Several mechanisms and regulations were implemented, such as hunting restrictions in order to protect species diversity. In 2005, DPR Korea published a Red List of endangered species. Databases were developed to help protect genetic resources and traditional knowledge. For sustainable use of agricultural ecosystems, DPR Korea is changing its farming practices to take into account the ecological conditions of different areas. DPR Korea enacted a law in 1997, and amended it in 1998, to quarantine all plants and animals that cross borders to prevent the introduction of exotic species. DPR Korea is intensifying legal and institutional controls to ensure that the transfer of genetic resources is consistent with the principles and provisions of related international agreements including the CBD.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

DPR Korea’s NBSAP has targeted to increase its protected areas to 8% of its total land area. Nature protection areas in DPR Korea have expanded six times since its ratification of the CBD in 1994. 12 wetland reserves have been established in Chongchon, Amnok and other rivers, providing major habitats for migratory birds in Northeast Asia. DPR Korea’s Environmental Protection Law and its Implementation Regulation require that environmental impact assessments be undertaken for all development projects having impacts on protected areas.

Initiatives in Access and Benefit Sharing

DPR Korea attaches great importance to the protection of genetic resources of crops, wild animals and plants. This has been reflected in its five-year plan for science and technology development as well as in its plan for land development. Research has been undertaken on the use of genetic resources of some crops with the assistance of some international organizations such as FAO and IPGRI. DPR Korea has also organized a national seminar on the use and preservation of genetic resources. There are plans to establish institutional and legal frameworks for implementing multilateral agreements on access to and benefit-sharing from the use of genetic resources.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

DPR Korea is making great efforts to protect traditional knowledge, particularly traditional Koryo medicine. Legal and administrative measures have been adopted to promote the use of traditional knowledge and practices in the conservation and use of biodiversity. Protection is achieved through intellectual property rights and copyright laws. Governments at various levels encourage organizations and individuals to develop and use traditional knowledge and practices.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme