Sub-Theme 2 | Role of the People: Cooperative Spirit & Voluntary Participation Spirit
In the forest reclamation process, people’s cooperative spirit and voluntary participation
were as important as the role played by the government. It is impossible to carry out a large-sized tree planting project in the steep mountainous region of poor transportation without the cooperation and participation of the neighboring farmers. The cooperation of the people was essential for the successful forest reclamation in Korea.
Roles of the Forestry Cooperative & the Village Forestry Cooperative
The Forestry Cooperative originated from the Durae spirit shown by our ancestors for farming a long time ago and the Village Pine Cooperative which protected pine trees based on the village unit. After the Korean War, government enacted the Temporary Forest Protection Act in 1951 in order to hurry the protection of the forest. By giving the right of a public corporation to the Village Forestry Cooperative, the Village Forestry Cooperative was created. Later, through the establishment of the Forest Law, the Forestry Cooperative and the Forestry Cooperation Association were newly founded and recognized as special corporations.
The Village Forestry Cooperative was composed of forest land owner and residents of the village, having duty of protecting forest around the village. According to the articles of association, the following projects were carried out: control of the illegal cutting and destructive logging, accusation of those violating the rules, prevention and fire fighting of forest fires, relief of forest diseases and pests, self-supply of forest fuel wood, participation in the erosion control project, stock raising, creation of income based on tree planting and cultivation, execution of trust projects and division of profits based on profit sharing forest agreement
After 1973, every Forestry Cooperative in the country exclusively carried out the fuel wood forest establishment project on behalf of the government. The government assigned the project to Forestry Cooperative in order to enable farmers to supply necessary fuel wood by themselves. Also, stock raising was supported in the form of the Saemaul Nursery. At that time, there was an extreme lack of land that could be used to establish fuel wood forest. Thus, abandoned empty land, riverbed and leftover piece of land were used first. When establishing fuel wood forest on private forest or national forest, the Village Forestry Cooperative divided the profits with the forest land owner by "the profit share contract" with a ratio of 9:1 based on the Forest Law.
The Saemaul (New Village) Movement & the Forest Reclamation
The Saemaul (New Village) Movement was a mind-changing movement and a public enlightenment movement for creation of better village life, based on such three mottos as diligence, self-reliance and cooperation. Through such a process, agricultural and living environment of a farming village were improved. Also, it was an income improvement movement
which created profits of a farming village by making a connection between various kinds of Saemaul Movement and the income of the village.
The five parts of the Saemaul Movement were the projects for the improvement of living environment, agricultural environment, village environment, convenience facilities, and for income-boosting. Among such projects, the income-boosting project related to the forest reclamation included the Saemaul Nursery, while the project for improvement of village environment included Saemaul afforestation and Saemaul erosion control project.
According to the statistics given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Saemaul afforestation was performed in 470,000 ha, which was 43% of the entire national afforestation between 1973 and 1978. Also, "My Village Planting Movement" focused on the process of planting trees on leftover pieces of land or the hills having no trees. Such a movement belongs to an exemplary case in which the village residents voluntarily planted trees. Among the erosion control projects which were carried out between 1973 and 1975 for 22,976 ha on a national scale, 70.7% of them were executed as the Saemaul erosion control project. Also, 19.5% of the erosion control projects, which were carried out between 1981 and 1987 for 25,061 ha, were executed as the Saemaul erosion control project.
The Saemaul Movement dramatically increased the level of income in a farming village, making it possible for the village to use coal instead of the fuel wood. As a result, it was no longer necessary for farmers to collect the fuel wood from a mountain, which made mountain soil more fertile. Through such a process, the forest became thickly wooded and the country became more beautiful with no danger of any landslides or flood, which led to a good crop harvest. The farmers were able to see the reward of the Saemaul (New Village) Movement directly with their own eyes. Also, the national tree planting movement
and the Saemaul Movement
for cities and working places are evaluated to have made contributions to the reforestation.
Saemaul Nursery Project & Compound Income Project
The government established a strategy to activate the Saemaul Movement by increasing farmer’s income through tree nursery. A Saemaul nursery was operated by the members of the Village Forestry Cooperative. Government lent all the financial funds required for operation of the initial tree nursery. By using such funds, Village Forestry Cooperative purchased seeds, fertilizers and instruments and paid for the rent of the land. Then the government guaranteed profits of the Village Forestry Cooperative by purchasing all the produced seedlings at the market price. The Village Forestry Cooperative paid 50% of the profits to the members as wages, while donating the other 50% as a village fund. As a result, the Community Credit Cooperative (CCC) was born.
The Saemaul Nursery played a big role during the period of the first Ten-Year Forest Rehabilitation Plan (1973~1978), taking 34.8% of the 2.7 billion seedling production on a national scale. During the same period, the Saemaul Nursery had profits of 12.3 billion won in total, which made the basis of the annual profit of 370,000 won for each village.
Not all the profits gained by the stock raising of the village were shared with the participants. Some were saved as funds for the follow-up projects of the village. For example, 50% of the profits of 860 million won in 1973 were saved as the ‘compound income fund’in order to provide a foundation for joint investment to create another source of profit. Such an accumulation of profits was quite helpful for the establishment of the Saemaul funds.
The Role of the NGO
||Result of Stock Raising (Unit: Million Seedlings)
||Forest Nursery Association
||Saemaul Nursery (A)
||Total including others (B)
||Percentage of stock raising (%)
(A/B X 100)
of total (%)
Government communicated with the public in order to induce their active participation. Also, by training the public, government promoted not only the importance and urgency of the forest reclamation but also the benefits of the forest, inspiring the forest conservation spirit. Meanwhile, the private sector was as successful as the government in inducing the public enlightenment and interest. Among the NGOs, there are many organizations directly involved in the preservation of forest and promotion of forest culture. Currently, there are 170 corporations, foundations and special corporations registered in the Forest Service. Among them, such organizations as Forest for Life National Movement, North East Asian Forest Forum, Forest for Peace, Future Forest, Society for Forests and Culture and Korean Forest Interpreters’ Association lead the love for mountains, the protection of the forest, dissemination of forest culture and public promotion and education. As national economic and educational levels increase and forest becomes thicker, protection of the forest and the public promotion by the NGOs seem to become more active.