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Unique Korean habitat in danger from Pyeongchang Olympics

Mount Kariwang-san is one of the Korean peninsular's most important forest habitats. The Uiryong People, of the Good Friends to Nature--Korea NGO, have been campaigning against the destruction of this habitat and have provided images showing the variety of species and the area affected by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. In the mid-1990s they thwarted a government project to construct a motorway over a key pass in the Mount Pukhan National Park in Seoul...

'Uiryong People', nature conservationists from Friends of Nature - Korea, in front of a giant acer in Chungbong Valley'Uiryong People', nature conservationists from Friends of Nature - Korea, in front of a giant acer in Chungbong Valley


...working ahead of official teams, members of the non-profit organisation conducted a general survey of the woods in the proposed ski area using GPS to spot all the remarkable trees and then counted and measured them over the last two years...

Conservationists conducted a survey of the site over two years using GPS to mark important treesConservationists conducted a survey of the site over two years using GPS to mark important trees


...most significantly, Mount Kariwang-san contains the largest plantation of 'Wangsasure' trees in Korea. The Wangsasure is a variety of Aspen only found in Korea. The destruction of this forest will do immeasurable damage to this unique habitat...

The giant "Wangsasure," the signature wood species in Mt. Kariwang-sanThe giant "Wangsasure," the signature wood species in Mt. Kariwang-san


...Mount Kariwang-san is at the heart of a larger area of forest which will be affected by the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics and environmentalists are concerned about the impacts on neighbouring valleys and the longevity of trees throughout the region...

Environmentalists are concerned about the microclimatic influence of the construction on the wider forest eco systemEnvironmentalists are concerned about the microclimatic influence of the construction on the wider forest eco system


...this monolithic giant oak, for example, looking sublimely and energetically healthy was found by an NGO surveyor on a neighbouring slope to Mount Kariwang-san and was measured as having a circumference of 4.5 metres...

This giant oak (Quercus mongolica) on Mt. Kariwang-san is probably one of the oldest of the species in the countryThis giant oak (Quercus mongolica) on Mt. Kariwang-san is probably one of the oldest of the species in the country


...the whole area is designated by the Korean Forestry Service as an area for the

'Protection of flora genes and forest Eco-systems'

as the sign below indicates. This designation is to be withdrawn by the Forestry Service to allow the area's destruction for the 2018 Olympics after the South Korean Government passed a special law to negate this designation...

Forestry Service sign designating areas as important for preserving genetic resources and endangered plantsForestry Service sign designating areas as important for preserving genetic resources and endangered plants


...conservationists argue that Mount Kariwang-san is of "Super-A class" ecological value...

Conservationists consider Mount Kariwang-san a 'Super-A' class siteConservationists consider Mount Kariwang-san a 'Super-A' class site


...the forest contains a wide variety of species of trees...

Imposing trees dwarf coservationists checking woods on a slope to be included in the Olympic constructionImposing trees dwarf conservationists checking woods on a slope to be included in the Olympic construction


...some of the oldest...

A photographer taking a picture of an old, twined yew avoids crushing ferns in the forestA photographer taking a picture of an old, twined yew avoids crushing ferns in the forest


...and largest on the Peninsular...

Conservationists measure the chest-height diameter of an oak standing in the way of a planned ski runConservationists measure the chest-height diameter of an oak standing in the way of a planned ski run


...which now face destruction...

A blue ribbon marks the course of the Men's Downhill in Mt. Kariwang-sanA blue ribbon marks the course of the Men's Downhill in Mt. Kariwang-san


...to make way for the ski runs of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics...

sign at Mt. Kariwang-san showing the ski slopes and courses and construction sitessign at Mt. Kariwang-san showing the ski slopes and courses and construction sites


...instead of being allowed to grow and prosper...

A copper butterfly sips on an oak tree in Mt. Kariwang-sanA copper butterfly sips on an oak tree in Mt. Kariwang-san


...as they have for thousands and millions of years...

Moss-ridden woods and ferns of the ancient forest in the valley of Mt. Kariwang-sanMoss-ridden woods and ferns of the ancient forest in the valley of Mt. Kariwang-san


...the northern bowl of this mountain and its sanctuary of virtually virgin forest in Korea's back country Kangwon Province, designated as one of the nation's major treasure troves of genetic resources of biodiversity, faces a "chainsaw massacre" when the planned construction of the Olympic ski area for the 2018 Games begins.


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