Kim, S.-K.; Kim, J.-C., and Choi, J.-Y., 2020. Distribution and utilization plan of reclaimed lands (RLs) as waterfowl habitat on the south coast of Korea. In: Jung, H.-S.; Lee, S.; Ryu, J.-H., and Cui, T. (eds.), Advances in Geospatial Research of Coastal Environments. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 102, pp. 107-112. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Since 1960, in South Korea, many coastal areas have been reclaimed to secure agricultural land and construct levees. Small-scale reclaimed lands (RLs) were isolated from coastal areas by levees and roads, and this resulted in the loss of the intrinsic characteristics of the ocean environment. In this study, the distribution of RLs located on the south coast of South Korea was investigated, and the formation cause and use types were identified. Furthermore, their potential was assessed as an alternative wetland by investigating waterfowl distribution in each RL. A total of 161 RLs (total area: 776 ha) were located near the southern coastal area of South Korea. Most RLs were created through disconnection from the marine environment due to the construction of an embankment or road, and most of the land was left unattended because it was difficult to use as agricultural or residential areas due to its narrowness and intermittent water level. The majority of RLs were characterized by intermitted water levels, deep water depth, and high salinity, making it difficult for plants other than emergent plants to develop, and consequently, fauna, including birds, were unable to utilize the environment as a habitat. In winter, some RLs were utilized as habitats for ducks (i.e., dabbling ducks and diving ducks), but there were few in the following seasons (spring and autumn). However, an RL was judged to have potential as a wetland if ecological function improvements, such as efficient water supply and water depth control, could be made. In particular, increasing the diversity and coverage rate of aquatic plants can lead to abundant food sources, such as fish and invertebrates. The use of these RLs as wetlands not only enhances the value of abandoned RLs but can also be a significant alternative habitat for diverse animals at a time when inland wetlands are being damaged and reduced.