Green List

Odaesan National Park


First Listed



Why is it Green Listed?

Odaesan National Park was added to the Green List during the Pilot Phase in 2014.

Designated as the 11th national park in Korea in 1975, Odaesan National Park is divided by Baekdudaegan (Mountain range known as the backbone of Korea) into the Woljeongsa district and Sogeumgang district.
Odaesan is spread out across Gangneung-si, Hongcheon-gun, and Pyeongchang-gun in Gangwon-do(Province) over a total area of 303.929㎢, and based around the highest peak Birobong which stands at 1,536m above sea level.

There are a total of 3,788 animal and plant species living in Odaesan National Park. Odaesan has 1.040 plant species which include 30 native Korean species and for animals, there are 28 mammal species, 103 bird species, 13 amphibian species, 12 reptile species, 35 fish species, 1,976 insect species, 157 spider species, and 147 benthic macro invertebrate species.

“Located in the center of the Baekdu-daegan, the north-south ecological axis of the Korean Peninsula, Odaesan National Park is an area with high ecological value as an alpine wetland(Lamsar Wetland, 2008) and goat habitat. By using the IUCN Green List recognition, we will make further efforts to protect the value of Odaesan National Park.”

KIM, Cheol Soo, Superintendent, Odaesan National Park

Key Achievements


  • Wetlands in Mt. Odaesan (Ramsar Wetlands) are continuously monitored and managed. ※ Odaesan Wetland: It refers to Jimoe Wetland, Sohwangbyeongsan Wetland, and Jogaedong Wetland, which was designated as a Ramsar Wetland in 2008.
  • Forest ecosystems are improved through the projects to enhance the artificial forests within the national park (removal of foreign species and transplant of native species).
  • A management project is conducted to prevent roadkill of wildlife (regular monitoring and installation of preventative facilities).

Good governance

  • Cooperation with local residents is strengthened to conserve ecosystems (nurture and protection of alternative habitats for amphibians). – Long-term communications (to share the opinions on pending issues) are made with local communities through the National Park Cooperation Committee (twice a year). (15 ideas shared by local communities were reflected to management policies in 2019).
  • Through an agreement with temples, landscaping trees within the national park are replaced with native trees (13,800m², native trees are planted).
  • Voluntary activists are fostered to enable them to engage in the park management activities (conservation and protection of the park, and environment improvement, etc.).

Community benefits

  • Programs are operated to support local residents for improvement of living environment, increase of their incomes, and support for vulnerable people.
  • Local economies are revitalized by creating jobs for local residents (program to deliver environmentally-friendly lunch boxes to local residents).

I am very delighted that three Korea national parks including Odaesan, Seoraksan, and Jirisan have been relisted in the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (IUCN Green List). In the decision of CBD COP 13(CBD COP XIII/2), the IUCN Green List was promoted as a voluntary standard for protected area management effectiveness. KNPS has participated in the IUCN Green List since 2012 and accumulated our experiences in listing Korea national parks to the IUCN Green List. Recently, there has been a lot of interest from Asian region about the IUCN Green List and KNPS is ready to share our experiences and knowledge with global communities. Managing protected areas effectively will be important in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. I believe that the IUCN Green List will play a crucial role in post-2020 period. KNPS will strengthen collaboration with IUCN in encouraging the effective management of protected areas through IUCN Green List.

Mr Hyung-Kun Song, Chairman of Korea National Park Service (KNPS)

Site Attributes



National Park

IUCN Category
II - National Park

Year Established

Marine Protected Area

Governance Type
Federal or national ministry or agency

Site Agency
Korea National Park Service

Site Manager
Nakyong KIM

EAGL Evaluation

GL Committee Submission

EAGL Chair
Jong Geel Je

ASI Reviewer
Matthew Durnin

Site Summary

Odaesan National Park was added to the Green List during the Pilot Phase in 2014.

Odaesan Mountain is located in the central and eastern part of Gangwon-do. The mountain was designated a national park in February 1975, including an area of 298.5㎢ centered on the highest peak, Birobong Peak (1,563m). Other peaks include Horyeongbong, Sangwangbong, Dongdaesan, and Durobong.

Odaesan has the largest natural forest of Korea, home to many wild animals and plants. The area of Birobong Peak is famous for its Nuncheunkbaek and Yew tree forests. The royal azelea and Geumgang Chorong from Durobong Peak to Sangwangbong Peak are famous and there are animals such as boars, musk deer, turtledoves and colorful woodpeckers living here.

1. Natural Values
1. The Odaesan Wetland (Jilmoe wetland, Sohwangbyeongsan wetland, and Jogaedong wetland) was designated as Ramsar Wetland in 2008 because its ecological values and implications were recognized. The Odaesan Wetland is a major habitat for various species including endangered species (Trientalis europaea, leopard cats, martens, etc.). For protection of ecosystems, management and monitoring are conducted. 2. Mt. Odaesan is managed as ‘a transition area’ to restore long-tailed gorals. To achieve MVP(minimum viable population) and to secure genetic diversity, 13 gorals have been reintroduced for the last 7 years. Currently, 110 long-tailed gorals live in the national park.
1. The conservation purposes are to minimize human damage caused by human entry or man-made environmental deteriorations, and restore the damaged areas into original wetland ecosystems, stabilizing the ecosystems and increasing biodiversity of wetlands. 2. To maintain MVP (over 100 long-tailed gorals) in Mt. Odaesan and its nearby areas, and to connect fragmented habitats, the national park plays as a ‘transition area’ to connect their habitats along the Baekdudaegan axis from a long-term perspective.
1. The Odaesan Wetland is designated and managed as a Special Protection Zone, and regular surveys (three times a year) are conducted to observe plants, soils, water quality, and vegetation changes. Additionally, ICT device (time lapse and real-time monitoring cameras) are installed to monitor changes and to secure basic data on the impact of climate change. 2. The park office designated the habitat for long-tailed gorals as a Special Protection Zone to protect them. Additionally, annual direct/indirect surveys are conducted to identify their population (sensor-based camera monitoring and trace investigation). - Special Protection Zone: 22.2km²
1. Artificially-damaged wetland is gradually recovered and biodiversity is improved. In short, the wetland is stable and conserved. Promotion activities by using various media are conducted to conserve the values of ecosystems and to increase the awareness of people on wetland conservation. 2. The population of long-tailed gorals is gradually increasing through habitat conservation and natural reproduction. The survey results unveils over 100 gorals probably live in the mountain, and the park office continue to pour efforts to expand their habitats and to eliminate harmful factors via continuous surveys.
2. Ecosystem Service Values
1. To reduce the threats to conservation of unique ecosystems triggered by invasive species introduced artificially or naturally, and to maintain the regulation services by controlling them physically or biologically, the park office tries to plant native trees and to remove foreign species (biological control). After the biological control activities, a monitoring is taken to check the change of their habitats, to analyze the effectiveness, and to figure out supplementary measures. 2. and response to roadkill of wildlife happening in major roads within the park, and to develop measures for reduction of wildlife damage, regular monitoring is conducted to check mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
1. Currently, out of 29 ecosystem-disturbing species designated by the Ministry of Environment of Korea, three plants were introduced to Mt. Odaesan. Therefore, the park office has expand the management sites annually to root out the ecosystem-disturbing species perfectly. 2. To stabilize wildlife habitats and conserve ecosystems in the park, the park office aims to achieve zero roadkill (complete prevention) within the park by constructing eco-corridors for wildlife, facilities to prevent roadkill, and alternative habitats for amphibians.
1. Physical control is carried out on the ecosystem-disturbing plants within the park every year, and they are replaced by native plants, preventing their re-occurrence. After the control activities, a monitoring is taken to check if the planted species are managed in a stable way. - Ecosystem-disturbing plants in Mt. Odaesan: Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Rumex acetosella, and Symphyotrichum pilosum. 2. The park office conducts periodic monitoring of three major roadkill sites within the park, and activities to prevent roadkill, showing the roadkill is on the decline. ※ Roadkill - It deceased by about 70% compared to 2015.
1. The park office makes efforts to reduce threats to ecosystem through continuous efforts for controlling foreign species and to conserve ecosystems in a stable way. Additionally, cooperation with local residents and relevant organizations is strengthened to increase the participation of the people in controlling invasive species and the awareness of the public on the importance of native ecosystem conservation. 2. The study on roadkill status through regular monitoring is utilized to secure basic data. The park office strives to conserve biological resources within the Odaesan National Park by reducing roadkill through the activities based on the studied data.
3. Cultural Values
1. Currently, the Odaesan National Park brags about 64 designated cultural heritages and 55 non-designated cultural assets (which means cultural resources not registered by governments). Monitoring is made on cultural resources, and in particular annual surveys under specific themes are performed to identify new cultural resources. 2. About 1.4 million visit the Odaesan National Park every year, so the park office operates visitor service programs and education programs for visitors, and also performs annual satisfaction surveys (about visitor service, visitor programs, and facilities). Efforts are made to improve the existing services and to increase the satisfaction of visitors based on such survey results.
1. The goal is to maintain the value of cultural resources in the national park and to pass them onto the next generation. Through continuous monitoring of cultural resources, the park office strives to reduce the threat of natural and artificial damage and to conserve cultural resources. 2. The goal is to maintain a pleasant and safe environment by systematically conserving and managing the natural ecosystems and landscapes of the national park. In addition, the park office aims to foster the awareness of people on the importance of national park conservation through visitor programs, outreach activities, and participation of volunteers.
1. Cultural resources in the national park are monitored to identify changing number of cultural resources, analyze damage factors, and observe the growth of surrounding trees and discoloration of rocks. Signboards and protection facilities are continuously installed to prevent damage and to promote the value of cultural resources. The park office published ‘the Cultural Resources Compilation’ to discover conservation values of cultural resources and to increase the awareness of people (2018). 2. Continuous feedback is gained to operate visitor services without problem for improvement of visitor satisfaction (i.e. development and operation of visitor programs, installation and management of facilities, management of disasters and safety, and settlement of complaints). The park office operates various programs for all people to use the national park equally by providing opportunities for the socially disadvantaged to experience the ecology and culture of the national park.
1. Thanks to continuous efforts to manage cultural resources, they are maintained in good condition. The park office plans to conduct continuous monitoring to maintain stability of cultural resources, and to discover various cultural resources which are not limited to tangible cultural heritages (such as living culture). 2. In an effort to manage the visitor service programs, the satisfaction level of visitors is over 90% every year. With a view to sustainable use and increase of conservation values of the national park, the park office operates various visitor programs to conserve and manage ecosystems and to increase people’s awareness. In the future, continuous management efforts are poured to make the balance between the conservation and use of the national park.

Conservation Summary

Outcome of EAGL Vote on Site

EAGL Summary
Odaesan National Park was designated as a national park in 1970 and has been actively managed to maintain its ecological integrity. In particular, the park is located at the core of the Baekdudaegan Ecological Corridor, a key ecological corridor of Korea. The reduction of commercial facilities and environment-friendly readjustment, which were created to improve mass tourist attractions in the past, are also actively underway. This park was already listed in the IUCN GL in 2014 after verifying systematic management. Currently, 84 employees are actively managing the ecological functions of the protected areas. Park rangers uploaded more than 100 reports and documents for GL. Through the review of the data, on-site interviews and conversations with stakeholders, we have confirmed that Odaesan National Park meets all 50 detailed criteria for GL. This park contains nearly 20% of the land owned by Buddhist temples, a traditional religion, and the main entrance of the park is also owned by the temple, with most visitors visiting the temple site. The temple is a religious sacred located in this area from 1,400 years ago and is a very important stakeholder for park management. With its unique protected area system, its relationship with temples is one of the key governance of sustainable management. There was frequent friction between religious activities and park protection activities in the early days of the designation of national parks, but the perception of them as partners in friendly relations is gradually improving. Through interviews with monks and stakeholders, they have confirmed that we are solving problems in the park through dialogue in case of conflict. For example, the park was actively participating in the protection of the park by reducing the commercial facilities of the park entrance, restoring some areas, and banning the pavement of the road linking the temple to the temple in the park. Maintaining continuous cooperative relations with temples is one of the key elements of ecological park management, as it includes large-area private land owned by temples. Efforts to maintain cooperative relations will continue.

Reviewer Summary
Committee should in future submit site visit plans to reviewer much earlier. In this case site visit plan was not reviewed prior to site visits by reviewer however site visit plans were approved post visit.

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