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Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats (Extension)

Date de soumission : 25/05/2023
Critères: (x)
Catégorie : Naturel
Soumis par :
Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO
État, province ou région :
Muan County, Goheung County, and Yeosu City in Jeollanam-do Province
Ref.: 6667

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Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.


Muan Getbol: N35°02′46.18″ E126°20′17.26″

Goheung Getbol: N34°42′05.23″ E127°26′36.12″

Yeosu Getbol: N34°44′32.77″ E127°34′24.37″

The Yellow Sea is one of the world’s major tidal flat habitats, and the nominated property is located on the east side of the Yellow Sea and the southwest coast of the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Sediments containing abundant nutrients are supplied from major rivers of the ROK, such as the Hangang River, Geumgang River, and Youngsangang River. Dynamic and continuous sediment supply, combined with topography (archipelago), oceanography (macrotidal current), and climatology (temperate monsoon climate), has created one of the world's widest and most diverse tidal flat habitats and even a unique coastal landform. The nominated property encompasses every type of tidal flat habitats on Earth that has formed since the Holocene, such as sand dune, sandbar, sand spit, sandflat, mixed flat, mudflat, rocky habitat, salt marsh, and characteristic sedimentary body.

The nominated property is a key and optimum habitat for the different species of waterbirds using the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which is one of the world's most threatened flyways of migratory birds. In addition, the habitat diversity of the nominated property greatly contributes to the species composition of various tidal flat organisms which are food sources for the waterbirds.

The nominated property for extension is a serial nomination with three components: Muan Getbol, Goheung Getbol, and Yeosu Getbol, where are adjacent to Shinan Getbol and Boseong-Suncheon Getbol included in the Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats (Phase I).

Muan Getbol is located to the east of Shinan Getbol, the largest component of Phase I. As the hinterland of Shinan Getbol, Muan Getbol has little damage to its natural coastline with widely developed mudflats, mixed flats, and rocky habitats. Muan Getbol is home to 250 species of macrobenthos, including endangered invertebrates such as Uca lactea and Ellobium chinense; 56 species of halophytes including Suaeda japonica and Zoysia sinica; and 52 species of waterbirds, including endangered species on the IUCN Red List such as Black-faced Spoonbill and Eastern Curlew.

Goheung Getbol is located to the southwest of the semi-closed Yeojaman Bay and, to the north, it is connected to Boseong-Suncheon Getbol of Phase I. Due to the counterclockwise tidal current, tidal sediments from the Boseong area are introduced to Goheung Getbol, creating silt-dominant mudflat habitats and rocky habitats. Four species of endangered invertebrates are included among the 100 species of macrobenthos living in these habitats. The rocky habitats with their undisturbed natural coastline provide an optimal environment for periphytons. In addition, halophyte colonies of 33 species formed along the coast serve as a resting place and shelter for about 20 species of waterbirds including Eastern Curlew,which is an endangered species on the IUCN Red List, and various tidal flat organisms.

Yeosu Getbol is located to the southeast of Yeojaman Bay and, to the north, is connected to Boseong-Suncheon Getbol of Phase I. The area is mainly composed of mudflats, but also includes sandflats and pebble habitats, which are not well-developed in other parts of Yeojaman Bay. Due to the rapid tidal currents flowing into Yeojaman Bay, Yeosu Getbol has a relatively narrow tidal flat area compared to other areas of the Bay, but is essential to meeting the ecological integrity in the whole of Yeojaman Bay. In terms of species diversity, Yeosu Getbol provides habitats for about 120 species of flora and fauna including 50 species of birds, 8 species of halophytes, and 64 species of macrobenthos.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

The Yellow Sea, which lies between the Korean Peninsula and China, is one of the largest and most productive tidal flat ecosystems in the world, supporting millions of migratory waterbirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), while providing important ecosystem services to human beings that depend on nature.

The nominated property covers all kinds of tidal flat habitats having formed since Holocene, and supports more than 300 species, including endangered and endemic species. It serves as a key stopover site and energy supplier for internationally threatened species of waterbirds using the EAAF.

Therefore, the nominated property is one of the most important and meaningful habitats in the world for the conservation of global biodiversity. It is an internationally important example of natural heritage shared across borders.

Criterion (x): Many of the estimated 50 million waterbirds of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) depend on the Yellow Sea’s coastal wetlands to stage on their annual migration between nesting areas in eastern Asia as far north as Siberia and Alaska and non-breeding areas as far south as Australasia. The EAAF spans 22 countries and supports the highest number of migratory waterbird species threatened with extinction, the highest diversity of migratory species and the highest overall number of birds among the world’s eight major flyways.

The various habitats covered by the nominated property serve as irreplaceable habitats for more than 60 species of migratory waterbirds, including over 10 internationally threatened and near threatened species.

In addition, this nominated property represents rich biodiversity with more than 300 species, including 250 species of macrobenthos and 60 species of halophytes. This nomination also provides habitat for four species of endangered marine invertebrates.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

The nominated property includes a large tidal flat area remaining on the southwest coast of the Korean Peninsula, and is one of the most important areas for migratory waterbirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF).

The components of the serial nomination are natural habitats necessary for the conservation of internationally threatened species and biodiversity and include an Important Bird Area (IBA) and a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA). Linking with the property areas of Phase I, they contribute to enhancing ecological integrity, such as the expansion of the hinterland and resting place of waterbirds (Muan Getbol), and meeting the integrity requirements for a single ecological area at the Bay level (Goheung Getbol and Yeosu Getbol), while securing the remaining major habitats.

Under the Wetland Conservation Act, the nominated property areas are protected from development pressure. The boundaries of the nominated property are drawn to include the main habitats of the benthic ecosystem and feeding grounds, breeding grounds, and resting areas for waterbirds, providing adequate protection for all species using these habitats. The nominated property encompasses mudflat, sandflat, mixed flat, and rocky habitats as well as widely developed beaches, sand spits, and characteristic sedimentary bodies around numerous islands. Moreover, the continuous supply of terrigenous sediments greatly contributes to the stable maintenance of various habitats.

Local residents have lived around the nominated property areas for generations, relying on marine resources utilizing their indigenous knowledge. Human activities have transformed some intactness of the coastal wetlands, but the action plan, followed by the legal framework of the Gaetbeol Act enacted in 2019, positively promotes the restoration of the partially degraded tidal flat ecosystem.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

There are eight major global flyways for migratory waterbirds: Pacific Americas Flyway, Central Americas Flyway, Atlantic Americas Flyway, East Atlantic Flyway, Mediterranean-Black Sea Flyway, West Asia-East Africa Flyway, Central Asian Flyway, and East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

The major sites of the eight flyways are protected and managed as World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, National Parks, sanctuaries, Important Bird Areas (IBAs), and so on. However, many bird habitats are still under various threats. Out of a total of 1,409 species, one-eighth are endangered, and 222 species are classified as critically endangered species. Nearly 3 billion birds are estimated to have disappeared in North America since 1970, and 600 million have additionally disappeared in the European continent since 1980. According to IUCN’s assessment, the situation is getting worse, with concerns over a sharp decline in many previously common and widespread species.

Of the eight major flyways, three include World Heritage sites with similar attributes to the nominated property.

The East Atlantic Flyway is related to the Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania, 1989) and Wadden Sea (Netherlands and Germany, 2009 / Denmark ext.2014) World Heritage sites.

Banc d'Arguin National Park is located on the western coast of Mauritania, adjacent to the Atlantic coast. This Park is formed of sand dunes, areas of coastal swamps, small islands and shallow coastal waters.  The austerity of the desert and the biodiversity of the marine area results in a land and seascape of exceptional contrasting natural value waters. Especially, the property serves as a major habitat for migratory birds such as flamingos, pelicans, and common terns.

Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal wetlands in the world. The property encompasses a total 1,143,403 ha of intertidal wetland, the adjacent wetland, and the seagrass meadow along the coastal line of the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. The property is considered one of the most important areas for migratory birds in the world and is connected to a network of other key sites for migratory birds. The importance of the Wadden Sea is not only in the context of the East Atlantic Flyway but also in the critical role it plays in the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory waterbirds. In the Wadden Sea up to 6.1 million birds can be present at the same time, and an average of 10-12 million pass through it each year.

The nominated property supports different kinds of migratory birds including endangered species which are not found in those two World Heritage sites, contributing to the global conservation of species diversity from an international perspective.

The Central Asian Flyway is associated with one World Heritage site, Sundarbans National Park (India, 1987). The mangrove forest in the property is one of the largest in the world with an area of 140,000 ha. Located in the Ganges Delta of the Bay of Bengal, which is formed by three major rivers of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers, the site supports 315 bird species including waterbirds, rapacious birds, and woodland birds along the waterways of the mangrove forests.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway spans some 22 countries from the Far East of Russia and Alaska in the United States, over East Asia and Southeast Asia to reach Australia and New Zealand. The flyway is home to more than 50 million migratory waterbirds covering 250 species, including 32 endangered species and 19 near threatened species. There are five World Heritage sites along this flyway including Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats (Phase I).

Kaziranga National Park (India, 1985) is located on the southern coast of the Brahmaputra River, which is the second largest river in India flowing through the Asam region of North India. More than 100 species of migratory birds migrate from Siberia to the river’s waters to escape the cold winter.

Uvs Nuur Basin (Mongolia and Russian Federation, 2003) is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. The Uvs Lake, the largest saline lake in Mongolia, lies in the middle of the basin and several small lakes are scattered around the lake. Those areas provide important habitats for 359 species of migratory birds including threatened species like Black Stork, Osprey, Black-headed Gull, etc.

Landscapes of Dauria (Mongolia and Russian Federation, 2017) is included in the Dauria steppe eco-region extending from Eastern Mongolia to the Russian Siberia and into Northeastern China. The property is located near the border between Mongolia and Russia. Various ecological environments such as grasslands, forests, lakes, and wetlands coexist in there. The property supports up to 3 million migratory birds in spring and up to 6 million in autumn, including threatened species such as White-naped Crane, Great Bustard, Relict Gull, Swan Goose, and so on.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I, China, 2019) is situated on the western coast of the Yellow Sea, one of the largest intertidal mudflat ecosystems in the world. The property protects globally significant biodiversity. The two components of the serial property have a total area of 188,643 ha, along with buffer zones of 80,056 ha. The property areas of Phase I offer critically important seasonal habitats for more than 10% of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway populations, including two of the world’s rarest migratory birds: Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank. These remaining natural habitats are vital for the very survival of these birds and a wide array of other threatened species including Black-faced Spoonbill, Oriental Stork, Red-crowned Crane, and Great Knot.

Together with the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I), the nominated property shares the globally important habitat of the Yellow Sea, a major stopover site of the most threatened flyway in the world. Considering the moving pattern and radius of action of endangered waterbirds (e.g., Black-faced spoonbill) that cross the Yellow Sea for feeding and resting, the nominated property is closely interconnected with the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (Phase I). The rich biodiversity of the nominated property serves as an important food source for these waterbirds. Together with the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (Phase I), the nominated property contributes to the conservation of irreplaceable habitats with international importance as a major stopover site on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.