Exotic plant removal and cleanup campaign at Mt. Chiaksan National Park

A national park, which should be a recreation area, a natural environment conservation area for the nation, and internationally a representative tourist attraction, is suffering from exotic wild animals and plants. Especially, however continuously exotic plants are removed, they spread very quickly due to their great ability to propagate and high reproduction rate. Since they prevent other plants from growing, it is a very serious problem. If we spray herbicide, even native plants may die. For this reason, the removal work should be done only by hand, but there is a labor shortage.

The WeLoveU members gave their hands to preserve native plants and take care of local mountains. On September 16, sixty members of the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation in Wonju city removed “verbesina alternifolia britton,” which is one of exotic plants, from Mt. Chiaksan National Park. Verbesina alternifolia britton is a perennial plant native to North America and grows up to 1-2.5 meters tall. It is well known for disturbing ecosystem by hindering the growth of native plants. It forms a colony on a large scale at Mt. Chiaksan. As September is its breeding season, it was very urgent to remove it.

The members who had arrived at 10 a.m. on the spot started the removal work right after receiving the education about the way to distinguish exotic plants from native plants and the way to remove and so on. The work continued for about three hours. They pulled up roots of verbesina alternifolia britton at its colony growing near trails. The national park officials prepared sacks and gloves and worked together with the WeLovU members.

That day, most of the verbesina alternifolia britton at its colony were removed. Hak-won Lee, Manager of Resources Conservation of Chiaksan National Park Office gave thanks to the members, saying, “Removal work was absolutely necessary for protecting native plants, but we had been only worried because of labor shortage. I give thank to WeLoveU members for participating in this work so actively. I hope that you will pay attention to this always and help us.” 150 sacks of verbesina alternifolia britton which was pulled up will be burned to prevent its propagation.

The members who had finished the volunteer activity said, “Though it was difficult to pull up the exotic plants which were over two meters, we felt preciousness of nature and worth doing this work to see the seriousness of exotic plants with our own eyes and to remove them”, and added that they had a meaningful time while taking care of nature by their hands, which will be handed to next generations.