How Introducing a Tree Monitoring System Improved Forest Rehabilitation in Korea (1973–1987)

Lee, Kyung Joon

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This case study examines adaptations in the Republic of Korea’s reforestation policy between 1973 and 1987, with a focus on the introduction of the tree monitoring system (Geommok, ). The tree monitoring system is one of a number of policies that contributed to successful forest reclamation projects, and has been evaluated as improving the survival rate of seedlings in plantations and increasing the responsibility and morale of forestry officers. This study analyzes the background, objectives, implementation processes, results, effects, and success factors of this system based on principles of the science of delivery. science of delivery.

The tree monitoring system specified practices for checking the survival rate of the seedlings in plantations and ensuring that seedlings were raised successfully, using the annual plans in the tree nurseries as a reference.

The government established this monitoring system in 1973 to conduct monitoring transparently and objectively, thereby excluding any indication of favoritism. The first phase of tree monitoring was conducted under the supervision of a provincial governor by exchanging the tree monitoring inspectors among different counties or cities within a given province. The second phase of plantation tree monitoring was conducted under the supervision of Forest Service by exchanging the tree monitoring inspectors among different provinces throughout the country. The tree monitoring inspectors were trained in the Geonmok system by the Forest Service before beginning their assignments to ensure the quality of project.

The survival rate of the trees in plantations in their second year was low—around 80 percent before 1973—but the national average in 1974 increased to 86.6 percent after the introduction of plantation tree monitoring system. The survival rate continued to increase, reaching 93.8 percent by 1985. This contributed significantly to successful forest reclamation. In addition, the identification of the number of seedlings surviving in the tree nurseries allowed the Forest Service to formulate more accurate planting plans for the following year.

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KDI School of Public Policy and Management, World Bank
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