With most wildlife endangerment caused by habitat loss due to human activities, it stand to reason that once humans clear out of an area the biodiversity will improve. Nature noted this effect in the zone of exclusion around Chernobyl, and now The Guardian reports that Korea’s demilitarised zone (DMZ) has become a human-free haven for the local fora and fauna.

While the two Koreas face off at the border crossing points, there’s little chance of serious activity within the zone. However, unification will come sooner or later and this is a rare chance to preserve near-pristine habitats in what will be a rapidly-developing area. The DMZ Forum was set up in 1997 to do just this, and has won support from local government officials in the bordering regions.

Although many parts of Korea still have good forest cover, environmental awareness seems to be quite low and this is a remarkable opportunity to educate people about the benefits (economic as well as ethical) of habitat conservation. Given how Koreans are such good tourists within their own country, having a development-free “demetropolised zone” could be an immensely positive step for the green movements.