Upo Wetland (including Upo, Mokpo, Sajipo and Jokjibul) is the biggest natural continent wetland in Korea and spreads over four administrative districts of Youeomyeon, Ebangmyeon, Daehabmyeon and Daejimyeon of Changyounggun. It is located on 128° 25’ east and 35° 33’ north.
In July 1997, it was designated as an Ecological Conservation Area by the Ministry of Environment. In March 1998, it was registered by the Ramsar Convention and is being protected. The area that is designated for ecosystem and view preservation is about 8.54km2 (about 854ha), and the area covered by water in Upo Wetland because of summer monsoon or flooding is about 2.314km2 (about 231.4ha).
Four Seasons of Upo Wetland
When spring comes after the cold winter, willows that survived biting-cold and long winter pushed out green and vital shoots. The milk vetch blooms in purple color when winter birds migrate to the northern hemisphere.
Coots and Moorhens are roaming around the wetland when the spring comes. Frog eggs begin hatching in the wetland, and the winter sprouts of duckweed appear above the surface of the wetland.
Aquatic plants begin to thrive when the weather gets hotter in summer. The entire wetland resembles a green blanket by aquatic plants such as water chestnut, duckweed, etc. The prickly water lily’s community is formed at the corner of Mokpo wetland and Sajipo wetland, and looks intriguingly mysterious as if its water surface is covered with leather skin. Great Egrets which are the largest among other birds in wetland are flying high in the sky free and easily, disturbing the wetland calm.
When stamens of common reed and silver grass are carried by the wind, which were blooming in the autumn around the wetland, the summer that never seemed to end passes and the autumn arrives. The rice fields that were green change to a golden color as though they were dyed yellow. Wintering birds come to the Upo Wetland for winter, one by one.
Winter in late autumn, wintering birds come to the Upo Wetland in earnest. Large Bean Geese fly elegantly in the sky and are looking for the food and shelter. Whooper Swans are taking a rest elegantly in the middle of the wetland. Waders are looking for food in the edge of the wetland.
Value of Upo Wetland
The soil in the wetland can contain a large amount of water for each volume unit and has a complex and organized water supply and irrigation lines that are formed naturally. Therefore, it can function as an excellent natural dam during the monsoon or drought seasons. It stores excessive moisture during monsoon or flooding and supply it to nearby areas continually during drought season. During this process, the soil can also prevent land erosion by absorbing surface water effectively.
Value as Watergate
The soil in wetland can contain a large amount of water for each volume unit and has a complex and organized water supply and irrigation lines that are formed naturally. Therefore, it can function as an excellent natural dam during the monsoon or drought season. It stores excessive moisture during monsoon or flooding and supplies it to nearby areas continually during the drought season. During this process, the soil can also prevent land erosion by absorbing surface water effectively.
The economic value of wetland is yet to be evaluated accurately. In quantity, however, it contributes to the securing of water resources and saving of the cost of water resource development and maintenance. In quality, it reduces the cost of environmental contamination prevention by purifying the water and can produce huge profits as the center of fisheries because more than 2/3 of the world’s fish catching is related to the use of coast and inland wetland. Moreover, it has very high economic value with agriculture, wood production, energy resource such as peat and plant support and so forth, wild animal support, traffic means, providing opportunities for resting and ecosystem tours and so forth.
As a primitive low wetland, Upo Wetland is the treasure house of ecosystem that has the perfect balance of production and consumption by raising various organisms through the long process of flowing and storing water, and it is a haven for natural animals and plants while keeping the ecosystem at a stable level.
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