City Trees

March - April 2012

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South Korea Urban Forest Photo Diary by Brett O'Brien, Natural Resources Supervisor, Columbia, Missouri Suncheon, South Korea is a city of 350 square miles (907 square kilometers), of which 70% is forested. Suncheon is a forested and scenic city of about 271,000 people located in the Southeastern province of Jeollanam- do. Billed as the "ecological capital of Korea," Suncheon is home to one of the largest protected coastal wetlands in the world, the Suncheon Bay Ecological Park. I The City of Suncheon is preparing for an international garden exposition in 2013, an event expected to attract six million visitors during its six-month duration (see Construction of the facilities for the exposition known as the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo, or ECOGEO, began in 2008 and carries a projected budget of over $105 million. The Expo site is roughly 376 acres (152 hectares). This remarkable project will include an arboretum, international wetland center, 30 n October 2011 I traveled to South Korea as part of a City of Columbia, Missouri delegation invited by our Sister City of Suncheon, South Korea. gardens of the future, and global theme gardens from ten nations including the United States. The Columbia Parks Department was given the honor of designing the American Garden, and I was thrilled to be in Suncheon to see the future garden site. Although much of the area was in the formative stages of construction and grading, our hosts showed us some recently planted trees on the perimeter of the site which were so large they were lowered into place by a helicopter (see com/watch?v=ia9CsodhbAg). Our hosts were extraordinarily gracious and kind. We were treated to visits to beautiful and interesting places in and around Suncheon including several renowned Buddhist temples as well as a historic folk village. The cultural and historic importance of trees was readily apparent as were impressive preservation efforts. City Trees

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