Traditional Forests in Villages Linking Humans and Natural Landscapes

Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


The presence of geomorphological characteristics such as rias, and of a wide array of highly productive tidal flats along Korea’s west coast, have resulted in various fisheries forming in the area. In addition, numerous natural estuaries and fishing villages were also formed. Historically, the people of such fishing villages engaged in rituals known as pungeoje (the fishermen’s ritual prayer for an abundant catch) and dangje (a communal ritual to the village god) in the ocean and coastal forests adjacent to their villages in order to ensure a good catch or the well-being of the village. However, the drive to modernize rural areas, which began in the 1960s, saw these traditional folk beliefs referred to as little more than superstitions, and they were prohibited outright. As a result, most of the traditional village forests and dangsup (sacred forests in which village rituals are implemented) have now been destroyed or devastated. Most of the forests located in island areas were destroyed because they had lost their religious connotations. Europe and Japan have recently initiated campaigns to restore traditional sacred places as part of wider efforts to revive traditional culture and make use of eco-tourism resources. Korea has also made strides at the governmental level to restore traditional forests. Most of these efforts have been led by entities such as the Korea Forest Service and the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea. Traditional village forests, and in particular large-scale dangsup, have long played an important role in the preservation of the ecological characteristics and biodiversity of villages. In this regard, there is an urgent need to investigate and restore the eco-cultural characteristics of these village forests, which serve as a bridge between the traditional cultures and the ecosystems of fishing villages. Such an exercise should be carried out in order to make it possible for rural areas to use such forests as eco-tourism resources. In addition, such forests should be continuously preserved and maintained, with an eye to the establishment of a network of local eco-cultures.


Tidal Flat Secondary Vegetation Fishing Village Traditional Forest Sacred Tree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2009-361-A00007).


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© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institution for Marine and Island CulturesMokpo National UniversityJeonnamRepublic of Korea

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