North Korea Seminar on Forest and Landscape Restoration
In March of 2012, Biohabitats president Keith Bowers was invited by the Pyongyang International Information Center on New Technology and Economy (PIINTEC) and the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP), an international NGO based in Beijing, to participate in an International Seminar on Forest and Landscape Restoration in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPKR), more commonly known as North Korea. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was instrumental in providing funding for the seminar, the first international conference in DPRK since Kim Jong Un took power in December of 2011.
The seminar’s primary purpose was to exchange technical information with 85 of North Korea’s leading scientists and top government officials on best management practices for restoring degraded landscapes and improving the country’s food security. Our delegation consisted of 14 ecological restoration practitioners, researcher experts and policy-makers from around the world.
The delegation concluded that restoring North Korea’s destroyed environment will take time, resources and money, but it can be done. To improve people’s lives and the landscape, the group recommended that two types of restoration be given priority: biodiversity and agro-forestry focused on food, fiber, and wood.
The delegation agreed that the restoration of the North Korean landscape held great potential to lift people out of poverty, enhance the region’s food security and ecology, and catalyze further positive change despite the repressive control of its leaders.