▲ Jeju's 1100 Altitude Wetland became the third to be added to the worldwide Ramsar List. Photo courtesy Eco-Consult Jeju
The Jeju provincial government said that the island’s 1100 Altitude Wetland was added on Dec. 28 to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Jeju is now home to three Ramsar-listed sites, including Mulyeongari oreum Wetland in Seogwipo, which was added in 2006, and Muljangori oreum Wetland, added in 2008.
The 1100 Altitude Wetland, located at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level on Mount Halla is an environmentally important water-bearing area which is vital to the preservation of flora and fauna, some of which is found only on Jeju. The mountain wetland is termed an “eco-treasure” as it is home to various rare plants, including the Japanese quillwort, and some endangered species that usually live at altitudes of 1,400 meters or higher. Seeds of alpine plants are swept down by rainwater from higher land and have rooted in the 125,500-square-meter site.
“The wetland preservation zone designation proves the value and importance of natural and environmental resources in Jeju,” said Ko Chul-joo, a Jeju provincial official in charge of environmental affairs, “especially at a time when Jeju will host the 2012 global World Conservation Congress, known as an environmental Olympics.” With a series of such recognitions in 2009, Jeju is further shaping its appeal as an environmental hub, which is a key initiative for the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province in 2010. As part of action plans, the provincial government plans to work together with UNESCO and the Asia Climate Change Educational Center to establish a network of biosphere sites in March.
Ramsar is named for the location of the organization’s first convention in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. The group, which sponsored The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat at that meeting, with the agreement of 18 nations, now has 159 member countries, with 1,880 designated wetlands worldwide, totaling close to 185 million hectares. The convention is dedicated to conserving internationally important wetlands with rare species of animals and plants.
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