From 10,000 Birds blog:
The threat of development hangs over many of the world’s wetlands, but in South Korea it does far more than just hang. Having helped drive the Spoon-billed Sandpiper towards extinction with the massive Saemangeum reclamation – a vast area of critical importance to staging shorebirds which was finally closed off to the sea in 2006 – the present South Korean government is now proposing to devastate the country’s entire river system!
The worst fears of shorebird experts in Australia were realised recently when it became clear that reclamation of the extensive mudflats at Saemangeum in the Yellow Sea had caused alarming declines in populations of migratory waders which use the area as a stopover on their annual pilgrimage to Australia. Without these mudflats, the waders had nowhere to stop over and feed on invertebrates to refuel for their arduous journey: here.
Wetlands Reclamation of the Songdo tidal mudflats begin: here.
Saemangeum Shorebird Monitoring Project Sept.2010: here.
It has long been know that the Yellow Sea is of exceptional importance to waders that use the East Asia–Australasian Flyway, particularly on their northward migration. The completion of the gargantuan Saemangeum Barrage in South Korea in 2006 (which, in terms of scale, is not much different from sealing off The Wash where it meets the North Sea!) has almost certainly led to the loss of tens of thousands of Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris, and is likely to have had a serious effect on the populations of a number of other wader species: here.
The Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) has just published a most disturbing paper about land reclamation in the coastal area between China and North and South Korea. The paper is titled “Minutes to Midnight”. The tidal flats in this area are essential staging areas for shorebirds on their migration from the arctic to Australia and back again: here.
An international group of experts is using a combination of scientific know-how, international diplomacy, and dogged persistence to save the habitat in North Korea for endangered cranes, which have been wintering for more than 10 years in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea: here.
Wildlife haven in the Korean DMZ under threat. Agricultural development is encroaching on the biodiversity of the demilitarised zone, destroying habitat and plant life: here.