The Ecological Impact of the Korean Saemaul (New Rural Community) Movement, 1970–1979

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Korean Saemaul Movement (New Village Movement, New Rural Community Movement, or KSM) in the 1970s was a political initiative to modernize the rural economy and change the traditional and unscientific mentality of the peasants, under the powerful top-down leadership of President Park, Chung Hee. Historical reviews of KSM are generally positive. It has been regarded as one of the most positively influential governmental policies contributing to the national development of the Republic of Korea. It has also been a popular modernization model for the Third World. However, the ecological impact of KSM’s conversion of Korean traditional villages into new modern villages has not been as fully examined as its economic and social impacts. Thus, this research investigated the ecological impact of KSM and Korean Reforestation, which were highly correlated. As a result, the paper reached the following conclusions: KSM was a spiritual platform for national agendas to be implemented according to changing situations; and KSM caused regime changes of resource management from natural resource-based materials into industrial resource-based materials, which led not only to the success of Korean reforestation, but also to an extremely high foreign dependence of energy and resources. Korean historical experiences in rural development may provide useful insights and substantial lessons for China’s current wave of New Socialist Countryside Construction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeoJournal Library
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameGeoJournal Library
ISSN (Print)0924-5499
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0072


  • Energy dependence
  • Rapid modernization
  • Reforestation
  • Regime change
  • Social-ecological resilience
  • Strong top-down movement


Dive into the research topics of 'The Ecological Impact of the Korean Saemaul (New Rural Community) Movement, 1970–1979'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this