chapter  3
Transforming the social and environmental landscape
WithSeung-hun Chun
Pages 21

South Koreans faced serious threats to their very survival with respect to the natural environment and food security before economic development. Accelerated forest depletion caused frequent floods and droughts, and high population growth and shortage of farmland worsened food security. Thus, preventing environmental catastrophe and rebalancing between food supply and population were even more urgent than economic development. To increase food supply capacity, the government took on the challenge of developing high yield crop varieties. For that purpose, the Rural Development Administration (RDA) was established to provide research and development and assistance to farmers. At the same time, it strongly enforced a family planning program to control population growth. It distributed contraceptives and provided incentives to have small families. With the same determination, it launched a forestation program to enforce tree planting and protection, and for providing alternative fuel and energy sources. As a result, food security was assured, population growth decelerated and scrubland was changed to dense forests.