After the ‘2021 P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030)’, the South Korean government announced its plans to absorb more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas into blue carbon within 40 years. As part of the project, the government plan to convert all ‘Getbol’, South Korean mudflats, except for the fishermen’s livelihoods, into carbon-capturing ‘salt marshes.’ In this regard, the government is expecting to reach Carbon Neutrality by 2050 and escape the stigma of being a “climate villain.” Currently, Getbol in Boseong, Taean, and Sinan are on the list of pilot projects, and the construction project is expected to begin in 2025.
The salt marsh is one of the tidal flats where salt plants such as a colony of reeds (Phragmites communis) and Chilmyeon grass (Suaeda japonica) live and is one of the internationally important Blue Carbon along with mangrove forest and Seagrass forests. Blue Carbon is carbon captured by the coastal and marine ecosystem, and the amount of annual greenhouse gas absorption is in the order of mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass forests, and mudflats. The international community does not yet recognize mudflats as blue carbon, but domestic academia has been steadily researching. And currently, the Korean government plans to convert mudflats into salt marshes that have the highest blue carbon rate, except for mangroves that do not exist in Korea.
In response, Dr. Ju Yung-Ki, a researcher of Chonbuk National University and conservation activist of South Korea, expressed concern that converting Getbol into salt marshes in an artificial way would be a “tidal flat ecosystem destruction project.” He also emphasizes that “it can restore to the salt marsh by distributing the river’s estuary bank by sea so that sediments naturally accumulate in estuaries and surrounding tidal flats through the river. And it can restore the unused salt farm and artificial fishing farm to tidal flats and salt marshes. I agree to restore salt marshes along the coastline, but I am not agreeing to convert all natural tidal flats.”
Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea office, prioritizing ecosystem conservation and environmental protection, is also contributing various activities in the West/Yellow Sea, Getbol, and migratory birds in South Korea.
Activities of the Hanns Seidel Foundation can be found below: