Suncheon, Republic of Korea

The power of plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits

How is the initiative shaped by scientific evidence of the potential for plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits?

Adjusting and maintaining the underground water level
Water that has passed through the low layer of the wetland is filtered out in the process of flowing into the groundwater layer. The water introduced into the groundwater layer is directly used as household water, agricultural water, and industrial water, and prevents the inflow of brine from the coast.

Prevents flooding and supplies water
Wetlands acts as a reservoir that accumulates excess flood volume during floods, and plants in swamps delay the flow of water, prevent extreme changes in river flow rates, and alleviate  flood occurrence. (In the event of a flood, 1ha of wetland stores a depth of 120 mm.) Natural wetlands have an economic effect of reducing dams, reservoirs, and irrigation facilities, and they can provide living water, agricultural water, and industrial water due to the relatively stable amounts outflow.

Maintaining and protecting water quality
It suppresses eutrophication, which is emerging as a major problem in lakes. Wetlands improve water quality by accumulating nitrogen and phosphorus. Therefore, maintaining wetlands reduces the need to build drainage treatment facilities, and can be used to treat small-scale household wastewater. These nutritive salts accumulate in wetlands during the slow flow of water which increase the reproduction of fish or birds to maintain the survival of wetland creatures and promote the growth of agricultural products, and during the fast flow of water, they leak from nutrients from wetlands to become a source of nutrition for the creatures of downstream or coast.

How has the city exploited the potential of plants and associated ecosystems to deliver more than one benefit?

Suncheon city has steadily restored wetland by purchasing land in areas expected to be developed around wetland protection areas. All duck farms that contaminated water quality and restaurants near wetlands were closed down. The city pulled out all 282 electric poles from nearby agricultural lands for migratory birds visiting Suncheonman Bay. And rice harvested by eco-friendly farming was purchased by the city and provided as food for cranes.

The restored wetland provides benefits such as controlling and maintaining groundwater levels, suppressing flood, supplying water, and maintaining river water quality protection to nearby residents, and provides habitat to various wetland creatures including rare extinct birds.