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Mount Kumgang Biosphere Reserve, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


The biosphere reserve is located in the middle of the Great Paektu Mountain Range, in the south-east of the country, and includes adjacent marine areas to the east. Mount Kumgang is a forest-oriented ecosystem linked to coastal, agricultural and freshwater ecosystems. It is home to many endemic and rare species of global significance. The coastal area and natural lakes form the habitats of migratory birds that use the East Asia-Australasian Migratory Pathway. The main economic activities on the site are fishing, agriculture and forestry.


Designation date: 2018

Photo gallery ǀ  Press release


Regional network: East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN)

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 262,589 ha

    • Core area(s) : 22,213 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 50,651 ha
    • Tansition zone(s): 189,725 ha


    • Central point: 38°38'07"N - 128°07'55"E


    Administrative authorities

    MAB National Committee of DPRK
    Ryonmot-dong, Sosong district, Pyongyang

    Tel: +850 218111
    Fax: +850 23432100


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Biosphere Reserve has breathtaking natural beauty with an intact altitudinal series of forest habitats from subalpine Ailanthus communities, subalpine coniferous and latifoliate forests, middleland broadleaved forests, lowland coniferous and latifoliate forests, lowland coniferous forests to swampy grasslands.

    Mt. Kumgang has 1,228 species of 533 genera of 146 families of higher plants, which include 67 species of ferns, 15 species of gymnosperm and 1,146 species of angiosperm.

    The number of genera composed of a single species in Mt. Kumgang amounts to 291 which accounts for 54.59% of the total number of the genera for this area and 14.4% for the whole country, showing the long history of flora and diverse habitat environment of Mt.Kumgang.

    Mt. Kumgang has many plants of commercial and academic significance, including 112 endemic species, 46 threatened species, 318 medicinal herbs, 23 edible herb species and so on.


    Socio-economic characteristics

    Mt. Kumgang Biosphere Reserve has great potential for fostering economic and human sustainable development, socio-culturally and ecologically, for its diverse natural environment and richess in natural, historical andcultural resources. Tourism in buffer zone and agriculture and fishery in transition area are its main economic activities..

    For its geographical conditions with many hills and plateaus, the farming activities are mainly focused on cultivating non-paddy field crops, fruit and sericulture. The main crops are maize, rice and bean, and the main fruit species are apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot and strawberry.

    The agricultural area of Mt. Kumgang Biosphere Reserve amounts to about 27,000 ha in total, which covers approximately 10.3% of the entire area of the proposed biosphere reserve.

    There are 5 fishing stations and 6 fishery co-operatives in the coastal area, Sea Kumgang area, where they culture shallow sea products like tangle, seaweed, sea urchin, abalone, scallop and mussel.

    Besides, the gathering of wild fruits such as Vitis coignetiae, Actinidia arguta, Crataegus pinnatifida, Rubus crataegifolius and medical plants-Panax schinseng, Atractylodes japonica, Epimedium koreanum accounts for the high proportion of economic activities.


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    Last updated: October 2018