Suncheon, Republic of Korea

Addressing the urban challenge

Breadth of the issue – How are the problem(s) that are being tackled by your initiative affecting citizens/local businesses or a significant component of the local wildlife?

With the removal of environmental pollution facilities and restoration of wetlands in Suncheonman Bay, the diversity of species and habitats in Suncheonman Bay was expanded, it emerged as a representative ecological tourist destination in Korea.

  • Hooded cranes: 80 (’99) → 138 (’03) → 525 (’10) → 871 (’13) → 1,725 (’16). In 2021, 3,400 cranes, the largest ever, safely finished wintering.
  • The number of tourists: 100,000 (’03) → 1.28 million (’05) → 2.95 million (’10) → 6.99 million (’13) → 5.43 million (’16) → 6.17 million (’19)

According to the 2014 “Economic Value Assessment for Ecological Restoration of Suncheonman Bay (Hwang Min-seop, Korea University Graduate School and two others), analyzing the travel costs (ecotourism) of tourists visiting Suncheonman Bay generated 174.7 billion KRW in annual benefits.

Depth of the issue – How seriously are the problems being tackled by your initiative impacting the life of the citizens/businesses/wildlife concerned?
  • ❍ Community Participation Project in Suncheonman Bay area
    •  Promoting private-led wetland preservation projects by inducing voluntary participation of residents in Suncheonman Bay to preserve wetlands in Suncheonman Bay and expanding participation of local residents and civil society organizations.
    •  From the early stage of the project, local civic groups discover customized wetland conservation projects for each village and promote to publish a white paper containing the project promotion process, performance, trial and error, and on-site voices by monitoring the entire process of project.
  • Resident-led Ecotourism Project
    •  Launched a resident-led ecotourism support as it was designated as an ecotourism area by the Ministry of Environment in 2013
    •  Developed residents-led ecotourism programs and continuously promoted public awareness activities by registering Suncheonman Bay Ecotourism Council.
    •  Villages(Jangsan, Geocha, Nongju, Daedae) were selected as pilot villages for ecotourism in the early stages of the project.
    •  It provides opportunities to discover cultural values and generate income in new regions by revitalizing ecotourism.
  • Operation of Hooded Crane Agricultural Complex
    •  The habitat of cranes in Korea accelerates deterioration due to wetland damage caused by development.
    •  About 282 electric poles of agricultural land were removed, and eco-friendly rice cultivation and landscape farming were promoted around Suncheonman Bay from 2009 to provide healthy food and stable habitat for winter birds.
    •  80, in 2009, the number of hooded cranes increased to 3,451 in 2021.
    •  Establish a virtuous cycle of coexistence between humans and nature by preserving endangered species habitats.