SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, August 9, 2019 — A total of 5,591 different shrubs, including 5,471 bamboo trees, which mostly grow in the southern part of Korea, were forested in Seoul’s Ichon Hangang (Han River) Park, creating about one kilometer of walking trails. This is Seoul’s first “forest road.”
Along the Ichon-Nanji Hangang Park, 1,307 cottonwood trees were planted, and a six-kilometer walk path are established. It is expected to become a great place to enjoy a vertical landscape of the cottonwood and the horizontal scenery of the river.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Hangang Project Headquarters said it has completed a project to create “Hangang Forest” at five Hangang parks. A total of 4.6 billion won was spent and 11,707 trees were planted for this project.
The city government developed three different models – “ecological forest” (restoration of the Hangang’s nature); “use forest” (expansion of rest areas); and “buffer forest” (buffer against fine dust and noise), and applied them to each of the Hangang Forests according to the park’s location or characteristics.
The “Hangang Forest Creation Project” has been implemented by the Seoul Metropolitan Government since 2015 to restore the nature of the river For the project this time, the city government combined the ways of directly purchasing trees and collecting donations from citizens at the same time to plant trees.
The five newly created Hangang Forests are: ① Ichon Hangang Park’s Bamboo Forest (Buffer Forest) ② Ichon – Nanji Hangang Park’s Cottonwood Trail (Use Forest) ③ Banpo Hangang Park (Buffer & Use Forest), ④ Yanghwa Hangang Park (Buffer Forest) ⑤ Nanji Hangang Park (Use Forest).
Ichon Hangang Park’s Bamboo Forest (Buffer Forest)
The existing bamboo green area that was not used near the Dongjak-daegyo Bridge, has been expanded to create a forest where visitors are able to enjoy green spaces throughout the year. Bamboo trees that usually grow in the southern part of the nation were planted with field investigations and meetings with various experts. According to the analysis of phytoncide concentrations conducted May 2019 by the National Institute of Forest Science, the phytoncide concentration in bamboo forests is seven times higher than that of city downtown areas. It is expected that the Ichon Hangang Park’s bamboo forest will help the citizens reduce stress and relax their mind and body.
Ichon – Nanji Hangang Park’s Cottonwood Trail (Use Forest)
Since 2017, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has created a 40-kilometer-long cottonwood trail linking the east and the west of the river. That work has been completed by planting cottonwood trees in the remaining six kilometers of the section.
Banpo Hangang Park (Buffer & Use Forest)
A total of 578 trees were planted around Sebitseom Island at Banpo Hangang Park and it provides tree shades to the visitors. Pine trees were also planted the park’s Moonlight Square to allow citizens to see the green landscape throughout the year. In addition, trees were planted along the side of the bike’s road so that people can enjoy riding along the river with cool shades.
Yanghwa Hangang Park (Buffer Forest)
2,763 trees were planted around the Sunyugyo Bridge to create a buffer forest to prevent noise and dust coming from the adjacent Olympic-daero expressway. Especially pine trees and nut pine trees were planted, which are highly effective in reducing fine dust noise.
Nanji Hangang Park (Use Forest)
Since Nanji Hangang Park has been often used for diverse outdoor events and festivals, such as Hangang Summer Festival, providing cool rest areas is a priority to create a forest. A total of 1,468 shading trees were planted for this end.
Kim In-sook, the Director of Park at the Hangang Project Headquarters, said. “The forest is a green infrastructure that improves the health and quality of life of citizens. It is also effective to reduce fine dust.” She added, “We will continue to create forests tailored to the characteristics of the Hangang to increase places for relaxing and for the restoration of the river’s nature.”