Effect of national-scale afforestation on forest water supply and soil loss in South Korea, 1971-20

Gang Sun Kim, Chul Hee Lim, Sea Jin Kim, Jongyeol Lee, Yohwan Son, Woo Kyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Afforestation of forests in South Korea may provide an example of the benefit of afforestation on precipitation storage and erosion control. In this study, we presented the effects of afforestation on water supply and soil loss prevention. A spatio-temporal simulation of forest water yield and soil loss was performed from 1971-2010 using InVEST water yield and SWAT models. A forest stock change map was produced by combining land cover data and National Forest Inventory data. The forest water yield increased about twice with changes in forest stock and climate from 1971-2010 and showed a spatially homogeneous water supply capacity. In the same period, the soil loss decreased more than three times, and the volatility of soil loss, in the 2010s, was smaller than before. The analysis of the change in forest stock without considering climate change showed an increase of 43% in forest water yield and a decrease of 87% in soil loss. An increase in precipitation increased the water yield, but also increased the soil loss volume. A change in forest stock led to positive changes in both. This study presents functional positive effects of the afforestation program in South Korea that can be useful in various afforestation programs in other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1017
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Afforestation
  • Forest stock change
  • Forest water yield
  • InVEST
  • SWAT
  • Soil loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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