▲ The trees in gotjawal regions thrive in an apparently barren and cruel environment, clinging to rock faces or growing from between Jeju’s volcanic boulders with no soil to be seen from which to gain sustenance. Though only the dimmest of sunlight makes its way through the thick canopy of the gotjawal forests, the undergrowth drinks it up thirstily, taking energy from it. In the winter months, Gotjawal forests are warm and still lush; in the summer, they are cool. The remarkable“ breathing”of the underground aquifer environment allows many kinds of moss, ferns, flowering evergreen plants and animals to live in harmony, even in the harshest Jeju winter. Their survival in such inclement surroundings arouses wonder, as do the almost sentient features some seem to display. To be or not to be, these trees struggle for survival is both simple and merciless - learn to live without soil or die. Photos courtesy Gotjawal People
The environmental group, Gotjawal People, held its 2009 photo exhibition, “Forest of Life, Gotjawal,” from Nov. 21 to 26 at Gallery Moang near City Hall, Jeju City. All the works on display were submitted by amateur photographers who took part in a four-month photo-graphic training course offered by Gotjawal People earlier this year. The aim was to raise public awareness of the need to protect gotjawal regions from thoughtless development, which is a subject of heart-felt debate on Jeju Island these days. The exhibition is the second photo exhibition hosted by Gotjawal People, nicknamed the Gotjawal warriors. The group is dedicated to saving gotjawal forests, known as the lungs of Jeju, from development through research into the environmental significance of the forests.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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