Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 521–534 | Cite as

Application of a Conceptual Ecological Model to Predict the Effects of Sand Mining around Chilsan Island Group in the West Coast of Korea

  • Jae-Won YooEmail author
  • Chan-Woo Lee
  • Yong-Woo Lee
  • Chang-Soo Kim
  • Chang-Gun Lee
  • Keun-Hyung Choi
  • Seung Won Jung
  • Sung-Joo Jin
  • Kyu-Hee Son


Chilsan Island Group, located on the west coast of South Korea, has been recognized as a critical breeding and nursery ground for endangered seabirds because food is abundant and human activity is low. Chilsan Island Group has been under protection as a Natural Monument (Article no. 389) since 1997, but attempts were made in 2004 to exploit the coastal sands around the islands. A conceptual ecological model (CEM) was employed with energy flow diagram (EFD) to predict the effects of sand mining on the islands’ ecosystem. The results showed that sand mining activities caused long-term damage to benthic ecosystems and threatened seabird communities by reducing fish populations throughout the food web. The changes in energy flow in the ecosystem due to sand mining operations predict that reduction in secondary production of benthic animal communities might reduce energy transfer to humans and seabirds by 30%. Different ranges of uncertainty provided by the Monte Carlo simulation lead to the conclusion that sand mining could bring about undesirable consequences. One concern is that such negative consequences would have a much more severe impact on seabirds than humans because seabirds cannot compete effectively against humans for the limited food sources. In this study, the complex interrelationships between ecosystem members were simplified and a CEM was established to clearly identify which elements would be affected. The CEM with EFD was found to be helpful in promoting communication between stakeholders, and it is expected to be widely used as a decisionmaking tool by public officials.


conceptual ecological model sand mining energy flow macrobenthos production seabirds 


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Copyright information

© Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jae-Won Yoo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chan-Woo Lee
    • 2
  • Yong-Woo Lee
    • 3
  • Chang-Soo Kim
    • 1
  • Chang-Gun Lee
    • 1
  • Keun-Hyung Choi
    • 4
  • Seung Won Jung
    • 5
  • Sung-Joo Jin
    • 6
  • Kyu-Hee Son
    • 7
  1. 1.Korea Institute of Coastal Ecology Inc.BucheonKorea
  2. 2.Gyeongsangnamdo Ramsar Environmental FoundationChangnyeongKorea
  3. 3.Office of Science & Technology, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSilver SpringUSA
  4. 4.Department of Oceanography and Ocean Environmental Sciences, College of Natural SciencesChungnam National UniversityDaejeonKorea
  5. 5.Library of Marine Samples, South Sea Research InstituteKIOSTGeojeKorea
  6. 6.Department of Environmental Engineering, College of EngineeringKwangwoon UniversitySeoulKorea
  7. 7.Aggregate Resources Management TeamKorea Marine Environment Management CorporationSeoulKorea

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