More Jeju landmarks could be listed as UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites, it has been announced.
Jeju Sori reports that Suwolbong, Chagwido Island and Yongmeori Dragon’s Head Coast will be proposed to UNESCO as additional World Heritage sites. Three additional subterranean caves from Geomun Oreum’s upper region have also been proposed for inscription.
If accepted, the sites will be added to the existing UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites at Mt. Hallasan, Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, Geomun Oreum and associated caves such as Manjanggul Cave.
The caves nominated from Geomun Oreum’s upper region are Utsanjeongul, Bukoreumgul and Daerimgul. As the origin of Manjanggul Cave itself, as well as the Gimnyeonggul and Yongcheondonggul caves, these sites are expected to meet the Outstanding Universal Value criteria.
Another lava tube up for inscription is Socheongul Cave in Hallim-eup. The cave is the fourth largest in Korea and is famed for its rare geological features including calcium carbonate speleothem such as stalactites and stalagmites.
Jeju received its World Natural Heritage status in 2007 under the title “Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Caves.” As part of its status, the province undertakes surveys into additional sites for inscription.
The Geological Society of Korea began surveys last June and the final report will be submitted to UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in October.
The proposed sites, announced July 5, were chosen from among 25 aqueous volcanic formations across the island after being rated for scientific value, site awareness, rarity, protection status and ease of management.
Suwolbong Peak scored “A+” with Chagwido Islet and Yongmeori Dragon’s Head Coast both scoring “A⁰”. All three sites are currently Natural Monuments and Suwolbong and Yongmeori are also part of the UNESCO Global Geopark Network.
Among the sites that missed the cut, Mt. Songaksan scored highly but received a “C” for weak current protection and difficulties in site management. Udo Island and Sanbangsan also scored highly but were omitted.
The sites will be evaluated by UNESCO and IUCN according to their outstanding universal value as guided by Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the associated Operational Guidelines.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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