SEOUL (AFP) "Robert Edward Turner, chairman of the Turner Foundation INC. of the United States, and his party ... arrived here," said the Korean Central News Agency, monitored here. South Korean officials said Turner was visiting the Stalinist state to discuss a project to turn the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas into a nature reserve.
16-August-2005, Tuesday (Day 1) - Keynote Address: Nature Conservation & Security: Towards Sustainabability. Moderator: Dr. Ke Chung Kim, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.
The DMZ Forum is an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), working with other international and national environmental and peace-seeking NGOs. Started in 1997 by two Korean-Americans, it has attracted worldwide support because its mission is globally important—diplomatically and environmentally.
Twenty-two of the world’s leading environmentalists and Korean experts have joined in a campaign to transform the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea into a system of nature reserves and protected areas for conservation and peace. The DMZ Forum was established by three institutions: the Pennsylvania State University Center for Biodiversity Research (Dr. K.C. Kim), the Institute of Public Administration (Dr. Seung-ho Lee), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly the New York Zoological Society or Bronx Zoo (Dr. Robert J. Lee). The DMZ, four kilometers by 250 (approximately 2½ miles by 150) was created by the Korean War 45 years ago. The devastated land was then left untouched by humans while nature reclaimed the corridor. It is now a sanctuary for rare birds, animals and plants, and the last vestige of Korea’s natural state.
Korea's DMZ: The thin green line :: The zone was established at the end of the three-year Korean War in 1953 and while intensive agriculture and industrialization has ravaged both the North and South since, tight security measures have left the environment in the DMZ largely undisturbed for the last 50 years. As a result, the ribbon of untouched land along the 38th parallel has now become an important refuge for two of the world's most endangered birds: the white-naped and the red-crowned crane. Other rare species include Asiatic black bears, Chinese gorhals and egrets. According to some accounts there may even be Korean tigers in the DMZ -- a sub-species of the Siberian tiger, one of the rarest tigers on the planet ... After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 the DMZ is the last remaining Cold War-style frontier on the planet, bristling with sensors, tank traps and automatic artillery. Up to two million soldiers guard the world's most heavily fortified border, whilst listening to the sound of crested shell ducks and swan geese.