Darangin paddy fields where rice is cultivated layer by layer along the mountain slope.
This is Musugol, Dobong-gu, where the last remaining Darangin rice fields in Seoul are located.
Paddy fields not only make rice, the staple food of Koreans, but also play a very important ecological and environmental role.
However, the area is rapidly decreasing.
We covered the diminishing value of discussion.
It is only 1.5 kilometers from Dobong Station on Subway Line 1 in the metropolitan area.
A yellow rice paddy stands out below Dobongsan Mountain.
In a paddy field of about 1,400 pyeong, Mr. Lee Seok-hyeon has been cultivating rice using valley water for generations.
“The people who see ‘Hey, this rice is already ripe and yellow’ really enjoyed it.”
It’s not just good for people.
This small rice paddy on the mountainside is now a precious home for small creatures that are hard to find.
(Is this material?)
“Yeah. He’s a material.”
A mountain shellfish that lives only in the clear waters of deep mountains.
Different types of dragonfly larvae and water moths.
And even small fish like loach cubs.
Paddy fields are valuable wetlands for biodiversity.
“It’s not just rice, it’s also serving as a habitat for various living things…”
However, the paddy fields are rapidly shrinking.
A rural landscape overlooking the National Assembly building in the distance.
This is Mok-dong in 1983.
A rice paddy field that can be easily seen even in Seoul.
Compared to 1980, the area of paddy fields last year decreased by nearly half.
The decrease in rice consumption is the main reason.
During the same period, per capita rice consumption fell by more than half from 132.7 kilograms to 56.9 kilograms.
Various development projects and city expansion also played a part.
A wide field near Gimpo Airport.
It is the closest large-scale agricultural land to Seoul, but construction will start next year here too.
The vast fields of 1 million pyeong in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do and 1 million pyeong in Gyeyang-gu, Incheon disappear.
“For those who have been farming for more than 50 to 60 years, all their memories are disappearing. Another concern is now about their livelihood…”
A puddle of water we encountered while walking along the rice paddy field.
A little frog is resting halfway to the surface of the water.
It is an endangered wildlife class II gold frog.
People and wild animals that have been guarding this place for many years have to leave as if they were driven out.
Recently, as the importance of carbon neutrality has been emphasized, the role of paddy fields has become more prominent, but metallurgical paddy fields continue to be covered with concrete.
“(Depending on the amount of rice) it absorbs a lot of carbon and makes oxygen again. It can play a huge role in improving air quality or reducing heat waves…”
The rapid decline of rice fields is also raising concerns in terms of food security.
Korea’s food self-sufficiency rate is 45%.
Excluding rice, it is only about 10%.
Even rice, which exceeded 100% until 2015, has recently dropped to the low 90% level.
[김종인 박사/한국농촌경제연구원 전문위원]
“If there is a shortage of supplies, first priority is to secure food in their own country (importing is difficult)/ If farmland is lost, eventually food cannot be produced.”
This year is the last time you can see golden fields swaying like waves in the wind in Daejang-dong, Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do.
An autumn field that was a symbol of abundance.
Would our lives be enriched if we built apartments here and laid out roads?
This is Kim Min-wook from MBC News.
Video coverage: Jong-hyeok Lee, Ji-ho Lee/Video editing: Gom-geun
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