Birds Korea was fledged in 2004. Our independent NGO has only 300 members, but a huge mission: the conservation of birds and their habitats in Korea and the wider Yellow Sea Eco-region.
In all of our work, we strive to gather robust data; and, based on best science, to propose honest and practical solutions aimed at supporting progress toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Examples of our work from the early 2000s to 2015 can be found on our archived websites (birdskorea.org and birdskorea.or.kr), and from 2014 to the present here, on our blog. Our work includes gathering hard data on the manifold impacts of habitat loss and degradation – on biodiversity, on climate and on local communities; developing ecological plans to support the formal conservation of key areas; and conducting research, especially on threatened bird species, selected as especially good representatives of threatened habitats.
One such species is the exquisitely-plumaged and globally Endangered Scaly-sided Merganser, which is confined to fast-flowing rivers. “Scalies” are extremely wary and sensitive to disturbance from people. They breed in remote riverine forests, shared with the Tiger in northeast China and Russia, and then migrate southwestward through the Korean Peninsula to winter in southern Korea and eastern China. Already, we have conducted three nationwide “Scaly” surveys in the ROK (in the winters of 2012, 2014 and 2022) enabling us to develop a national mid-winter population estimate and to improve understanding of their ecological requirements; as part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership’s Scaly-sided Merganser Task Force, we helped to conduct a survey of rivers in the DPR Korea; and in 2021, we started a longer commitment to monitoring and conservation in the Yeoncheon Imjin River Biosphere Reserve on the ROK side of the DMZ, a key area for Scalies and many other threatened species.
Improving conservation opportunities for Scalies means managing rivers in ways that support this and other charismatic riverine wildlife, including endangered freshwater turtles and endemic fish species, while strengthening other key elements of sustainability.
In Yeoncheon County, in 2023 and 2024 we are delighted to be able to work with Yeoncheon County and invited experts, including from the University of California Berkeley and Tokyo Institute of Technology, on the development of an integrated planning vision for the Yeoncheon Imjin River Biosphere Reserve. This vision will include: river restoration and pollution reduction measures; recommendations on safe spaces for environmental education and eco-tourism, led by local communities; and better integration of biodiversity conservation into urban and rural planning, both at the site-level and throughout Yeoncheon County – all good for both biodiversity and people.
As always, we can only do as much as our capacity allows. So to help support our conservation work, we are delighted to have been accepted onto Pinwheel.
Pinwheel is a unique sustainability platform providing a comprehensive response to environmental challenges. Pinwheel enables progressive businesses to fund the world’s most impactful climate and biodiversity projects in collaboration with employees, clients and consumers. In August-September 2023, world-renowned Frieze Seoul is supporting three sustainability projects via Pinwheel – and Birds Korea is delighted to have our work for the Scaly-sided Merganser selected as one of those three projects.
Please visit Pinwheel- Frieze and vote for us!