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Wando Biosphere Reserve, Republic of Korea

Located at the Southernmost tip of the Korean Peninsula, the Wando Archipelago comprises 265 islands. Wando is situated in the ecotone where terrestrial and marine ecosystems meet. This leads to a diverse range of ecosystems including wetlands, tidal flats, and neritic zones.

The rich biodiversity is particularly due to the warm oceanic climate that results from the northwesterly winds being blocked by the Haenam Peninsula. Marine areas account for almost 90% of the biosphere reserve.

Designation date: 2021

Photo gallery | Press release


Regional network:  

World Network of Island Coastal Biosphere Reserves (WNICBR

Ecosystem-based network: 

Marine, coastal and island areas 

Tropical forests 



    Surface : 403,899 ha

    • Core area(s): 11,925 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 160,931 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 231,043 ha

    Location: 34°13N – 126°59’E

    Administrative Authorities

    51, Cheonghaejinnam-ro, Wando-eup, Wando-gun, Jeollanamdo 
    Wando-gun, 59124 

    Tel.: +82-61-550-5003

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Warm-temperate evergreen broad-leaf forests cover the mountain slopes and stretch along the coasts of Wando, which features a variety of ecosystems including salt marshes, rocky habitats, sandy areas, tidal flats, and intertidal and sub-littoral zones extending into the sea, which hosts an equally rich diversity of marine wildlife.





    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    55 islands are inhabited by a total of some 50,000 people (2021) who welcome 3 million visitors a year.

    This biosphere reserve presents fine examples of traditional land management practices, such as Maeulsup (village forests and groves that protect residents and farmlands from strong winds) and Gudeuljangnon (terraced rice paddies).

    The inhabitants recognize that these sustainable practices and a healthy environment add a significant value to their archipelago’s seafood production and tourism.





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    Last updated: January 2022