Evaluation and improvement of forest watershed management projects in Korea

Hakjun Rhee1,*   

1Institute of Agricultural Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea


A forest watershed management project was introduced in 2004 to develop ecologically sound forest watersheds. It includes landslide prevention and erosion control, water resource management, landscape development, and forest resource management. However, it has been managed fragmentarily and inefficiently, far from the original intents. This study investigated current status, problems, and improvement measures of the project. Literature reviews were conducted on forest watershed management in Korea and other countries, and surveys were conducted on 201 erosion control experts. When introduced, the forest watershed management project was well planned and implemented as intended. It later turned to focus only on disaster prevention such as erosion control dams and stream conservation measures. The survey results showed that a majority (89% and 86%) of surveyees wanted increases in the project period and budget. They also responded that conflicts with local residents (51%) and determining project locations (32%) were the most difficult tasks when implementing the projects, and only 36% kept project records. To plan and implement the projects as intended, the following suggestions should be considered: (1) establishment of a solid legal foundation and improvement of the erosion control practices law; (2) increase in the project period (from 1 to 2 - 3 years) and budget; (3) development of a manual for project site selection and guidelines; (4) monitoring and systematic information management; and (5) development of spatial analysis tools for watershed analysis and management.

Figures & Tables

Fig. 1. Annual total budget and unit cost of forest watershed management projects from 2004 to 2020 (KFS, 2004-2020; KFS, 2006-2019; KFS, personal communication, 4 September 2020).