“Another important reason that Koreans protect their national parks” Healing in National Parks

Korea National Park Service
Published: 12 April 2023
Last edited: 12 April 2023
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Summary

Utilizing the diverse elements of nature in the national parks, KNPS has run programs for 8000 adults in its ecological parks to improve their mental and physical health. 

 

The program was developed with the participation of experts such as university professors and field psychologists. Currently,  40 programs have been running in 8 ecological parks.

 

Trekking islands by riding a yacht, mountain trekking, Nordic walking, yoga in the forest, brunch in nature, nature meditation, and handicraft experiences are examples of some of the programs offered as part of the mountain- or ocean-based healing programs which take advantage of the national parks’ characteristics. Converged programs connecting with temple stays and other aspects of the national park are offered as well.

 

A total of 72 employees who majored in environmental education, landscape architecture, forest resources and education, as well as guides who have qualifications in eco interpreting or forest healing are operating the program.

Classifications

Region
East Asia
Scale of implementation
National
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Temperate evergreen forest
Theme
Health and human wellbeing
Indigenous people
Local actors
One Health
Outreach & communications
Protected and conserved areas management planning
One Health
Biodiversity-health nexus
Challenges
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge

Location

Bukhansan National Park, 성북구 보국문로 262, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul 01002, South Korea
Jirisan National Park, 마천면 삼정리, Hamyang-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do 50057, South Korea
Seoraksan National Park, 설악동, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do 24903, South Korea
Sobaeksan, 인동22길 24, Gumi-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 39407, South Korea
Hallyeohaesang National Park, Geoje-si, Gyeongsangnam-do 53329, South Korea
Mudeungsan, 동구 동산길 29, Dong-gu, Gwangju 61493, South Korea
Naejangsan National Park, 내장산로 936 (내장동), Jeongeup-si, Jeollabuk-do 56199, South Korea

Impacts

At Chungnam National University, a national university of Korea, the Korea National Park Research Institute scientifically evaluated the psychological and physiological impacts that the 2022 National Park Healing Program had on the firefighters who participated in the program.

 

 ○ For the psychological impact evaluation, the Korea Positive and Negative Affect Schedule: The PANAS Scales, the Korean Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale (WEMWBS) and the Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS) were used to measure psychological changes before and after participation in the program.

 

 ○ For the physiological impacts, changes in the autonomic nervous system action before and after participation in the program was measured by utilizing blood and pressure and heart rate variability(HRV).

 

  ○ The program was shown to increase positive emotions and perceived restorative environments and reduce systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure.

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Korea National Park Service - KNPS Korea National Park Service