Owing to the geographic disadvantages of mountain villages, the social, cultural, and economic conditions of mountain villagers are inferior to those of urban dwellers in South Korea. Thus, in 1995, the The government of South Korea launched a mountain village development support program to promote agriculture and forestry, balance national land development, and preserve cultural heritage. The program was effectively implemented, improving the income, population size, and living conditions of villagers in addition to setting up a system for stable project implementation. However, concerns were raised about long-term development planning, the creation and marketing of specialty brands, facility management/operation, and follow-up support. The government conducted surveys of mountain villagers in 2003 and 2014, obtaining basic data to address these issues. This study evaluates the outcomes of these two surveys, suggesting areas requiring focused action, concentrating on village development projects, forest resource distribution and use, demographic trends, the economy, exchange with urban areas, green tourism, and master planning. We find that despite growth in the forest labor force, forest ownership is diminishing in terms of the number and scale of holdings. Consequently, it is necessary to commercialize forest resources, establish favorable settlement conditions, and expand government support for village-run projects. In addition, systematic forest management for older tree age classes would benefit the public and provide assets for future mountain village development. Our results are expected to provide baseline information for the establishment and efficient implementation of mountain village development policy.
Journal of Mountain Science – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 4, 2017
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