Jeolla’s Shinan gets wider Unesco designation

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Jeolla’s Shinan gets wider Unesco designation

Shinan County in South Jeolla has received Unesco’s coveted biosphere reserve designation, the Ministry of Environment announced Sunday.

The award, announced at the 28th session of the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme in Peru’s capital of Lima, makes Shinan the second administrative district in Korea to be named a Biosphere Reserve after Gochang County in North Jeolla.

In 2009, only a couple of areas within Shinan received the designation, mainly the Sea of Dado, where over 400 islands are stretched over 573.1 square kilometers (221.3 square miles), an area a bit smaller than Seoul.

Now the designation applies to all of Shinan, home to 1,004 islands stretching across 3,238.7 square kilometers.

Koh Gil-ho, who heads the county government, said Unesco’s decision will help local tourism and encourage the county to treat its natural resources better.

Mount Seorak (1,708 meters), the third-highest mountain in Korea after Mount Halla (1,947 meters) and Mount Jiri (1,915 meters), also saw its Biosphere Reserve area extended by nearly two-fold, from 393.5 square kilometers to 767.5 square kilometers in mainly inhabited zones, forests and agricultural lands surrounding the mountain.

A total of five areas in Korea have been named Biosphere Reserves so far: Mount Seorak, Shinan County, Gochang County, Jeju Island and Gwangneung Forest, which is stretched across three different cities in Gyeonggi.

The tourism industry in Shinan chiefly depends on Jeung Island, the seventh largest island in the county. Designated a Slow City in 2007, the island boasts the country’s largest salt farm. An exhibition hall and a museum on the island offer descriptions of the area’s general ecosystem and key industries.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeung@joongang.co.kr]

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