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Dept. of Agricultural Environment

The Department of Agricultural Environment is a national research organization supporting rural area to maintain sound agricultural environment through developing rural resources and new agricultural technologies.

The works of Department of Agricultural Environment focus on ;

- Discovery, management and development of rural environmental resources
- Sustenance of crop productivity linked to soil, crops, and water
- Development of integrated eco-friendly soil and nutrient management technologies
- Development of greenhouse gas mitigation and future agriculture technique for climate change
- Development of organic farming technology

It consists of Soil and Fertilizer Division, and Climate Change & Agroecology Division and Organic Agriculture Division and Rural Environment & Resources Division.

Soil and Fertilizer Division

works for development of eco-friendly agricultural basic fundamental technology. It is developing the scientific farming practical technology by computerization in soil resource information, the development of sustainable agricultural maintainable technique and environment-friendly integrated nutrients management etc.

Reclassification of Inceptisols Corresponding to the International Soil Classification System

A total of 36 representative soil series were investigated in order to correspond to changes in the international soil classification system (Soil Taxonomy). Existing Inceptisols were reclassified using soil analyses and diagnoses of horizon identification such as ochric epipedon, umbric epipedon and cambic horizon, among others. The names of 24 out of the 36 soil series, like the Ido, Danseong and Dosan series, were changed.

Mobile Web Version of the Soil Information System (

The mobile web version of the Soil Information System was developed to support farmers and soil consultants working at the Agricultural Technical Centers (ATC) in cities and counties. The information on 61 crop suitability maps, soil analysis data and fertilizer recommendation, and crop nutrient diagnosis were developed for the mobile web service. Soil testing status can be also checked using mobile phones with log-on access.

Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon and Crop Status Using Remote Sensing

The rule-based piece-wise regression model was developed for estimating soil organic carbon content of 123 Korean soils (n=499) using VIS-NIR spectroscopy. The rice yield prediction model (R2=0.78) was developed using the MODIS vegetation index and the climate data collected from 2002 to 2011.

Water-saving irrigation guidelines for upland crops

Water-saving irrigation guidelines for upland crops were established to prevent water shortage. The expected water saving effect for greenhouse cucumber is 40-160 mm, 250 mm for red pepper, and 60-110 mm for apple tree, compared to the existing irrigation guidelines for each crop. To reduce soil erosion in upland slopes, a circuitous ridge construction in the upper zone of the slope was developed.

Soil chemistry and fertility management

The nitrogen top dressing rates based on the soil nitrate nitrogen content for leaf perilla under the plastic film house cultivation in Gumsan-gun and Miryang-si were established. The application of DTPA chelating agent in salt-accumulated soils increased the yield of cucumber. The twice per week application of DTPA chelating agent with 0.6 mM concentration was more effective in improving crop yield.

Environment friendly fertilization management

The standard fertilizer rates on 109 crops were established and appended to the list of crops in the web-based fertilizer recommendation program. The effects of the customized fertilizer treatment were evaluated on the growth and yield of rice and the reduced amount of fertilizer. In addition, we investigated the effect of vinyl mulching in improving organic fertilizer use efficiency. We also examined the plant nutritional and physiological disorders by analyzing various crop environment factors and provided guidance for possible countermeasures.

  • soil survey excursion
  • Korean soil information system
  • web-based fertilizer recommendation

Climate Change and Agroecology Division

works for making use of countermeasure resource of climate change in agriculture sector. The change in climate which is caused by global warming will be accelerated on a large scale. The counter-strategy for climate change which is needed for whole world-wide. From the point of view with the fact, change in climate are related with greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation and R&D.

1. Correspondence in the national greenhouse gas discharge volume computation for politic support and green technologies.

This program consists of two parts, 1) to develop national specific emission factors (EFs) and to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural sector in accordance with IPCC 2006 guideline and 2) to develop agricultural policy options using developed EFs in order to prepare for carbon emission trading scheme effective in near future. Research area consists of six parts, 1) to establish the GHG emission evaluation system for crop and livestock sectors, 2) to unify methodologies quantifying GHG emissions, 3) to improve data accuracy, 4) to suggest policy options confronting international convention by evaluation and verification of GHG emissions, 5) to anticipate the change of GHG emissions in near future, and 6) to develop techniques and policy options confronting the future climate change.
The research goals of this program are 1) to anticipate the change of GHG emissions and 2) to suggest options in order to confront issues related to GHG emissions from agricultural sector by means of developing 12 and 3 EFs of crop and livestock sectors, respectively, and surveying activity data for EF calculation.

2. The Occurrence of climate disaster by abnormal weather accompanied with climate change.

The earth has been heated 0.74 °C for the last 100years and 1.5 °C in the Korean peninsula, so the occurrence of climate disaster has rapidly been increasing by above-average temperature occurrence through abnormal weather accompanied with climate change, especially maintenance of "warm winter" since the late eighties. According to the analyzed result of recent agricultural climate change, the temperature has risen up 0.95 °C for last 35 years ( rapid uprising area : east southern shore area, middle inland area), the rainfall has increased 283mm (rapid increasing area : Taebaek cool hillside, Taebaek semi cool hillside area), and sunshine has decreased 378 hours ( rapid decreasing area : middle inland, Yeongnam inland mountains area ). It has been analyzed to bring out high temperature, the localized torrential downpour, extension of non-frost period by sunshine shortage, decreasing appearance rate of low temperature, and decline of climate productivity index. Climate change & agro-ecology division will minimize climate disaster establishing regional adaption policy of custom-made climate change considered by weather specific and contribute to stable production of crops. ( The amount of Climate disaster damage in agricultural section : 90 billion won per a year)

    Decadal change of temperature

  • [1970s]
  • [2000s]
  • Rapid warming district : Southern East Sea

    Decadal change of precipitation

  • [1970s]
  • [2000s]
  • Precipitation Increased district : Taebag mountainopus

Establish highest level of organic farming system

Develop technologies suitable to Korean environment and harmonized with international standards in organic agriculture farming. Optimization of filed applicable technologies are developed to minimize input and recycle resources for the production of organic agricultural products. Soil and nutrient management for sustainable organic farming by using green manure crop and organic resources. Biological control over insect pest and disease by useful natural enemies and natural material. Environment-frendly cropping system and ecosystem is being developed for an alternative cultural and ecological crop protection techniques.

Development of organic farming technology

For the nutrient management in organic farming, various organic materials were used. In order to investigate the nitrogen mineralization, various organic materials are tested. Mineralization of alfalfa, hairy vetch, oil cake were about same as chemical fertilizer in submerged condition. Also, nitrogen use efficiency of the materials in rice cultivation was similar to that of urea. Above results showed that hairy vetch and soybean oil cake organic fertilizer, which are commonly used in organic rice production, can be used as chemical nitrogen replacements in same nitrogen level. For the preparation of yoghurt liquid fertilizer, oilcake and yoghurt were used as microbial sources for the liquid fermentation. Nutrient contents and other chemical properties are similar to the those of commercial EM based liquid fertilizer. Disease and insect pest control is important in organic farming. Application of fulvic acid (500 times diluted solution) on red pepper seedling promoted early plant growth and shortened time required for fruiting. Two varieties of Chinese cabbage, 'Chuwol' and 'Gohyangssam', showing resistance to club root disease, powdery mildew and soft rot of Chinese cabbage were selected for organic production of Chinese cabbage. As a environmentally friendly materials for controlling powdery mildew of hot pepper, a mixture of loess and sulfur, without phyto-toxicity and with high control efficacy, was newly-developed. Green manure (rye and hairy vetch) remarkably suppressed bacterial wilt of hot pepper. Disease incidence in conventionally cultivated hot pepper showed 30~80% of disease severity, but in hot pepper added with green manure showed only 0~4.7% of disease severity. Optimal mixing ratio of rye and hairy vetch were 1:1 and 2:1. One tomato cultivar (Power King) and seven tomato cultivar (Power King and Ricopin) were evaluated for resistant cultivars against leaf mold and powdery mildew, respectively. Organic agriculture division has important function in the dissemination of organic farming technology. Until 2010, about 10 organic crop cultivation manuals were published. In 2011, Simple and easy examples of organic agriculture farming management in crop production were collected from organic pioneer farmers, and [Easy ways of organic farming II] was published. The manual was broadly distributed to organic farmers and extension service officers.

Rural Environment and Resource Division

For creating the new value of rural resource, we research on beautiful rural space by making use of rural amenity resources inherent in rural area, develop of contents such as storytelling by analysing traditional knowledge, and research on improvement a quality of rural tourism. And also for sustainable progress of rural society, we also focus on settlement support for refarmers, rural in-migrants and multicultural family and the welfare of rural residents.

Rural Amenity Resource Survey and Space Planning Research

We survey rural amenity resources of 32,000 villages in the whole country of South Korea. This project started in 2005 and we discovered 37 species and 330,000 cases of resources in 26,000 villages. These rural amenity resources have been provided on the internet ( to support rural policy making, regional planning and development of green tourism program. We also provide rural village design consulting services that help improve quality of life in the rural

Rural Amenity Information System

Excavation and Utilization of Rural Traditional Knowledge Resource

With the growing interest in traditional knowledge, we excavated 97,000 cases (book 27) of traditional farming techniques and life skills through survey of ancient writing and oral tradition. The 13,000 cases of traditional knowledge resources have been provided on the Korean Traditional Knowledge Portal( To conserve traditional knowledge resources internationally and countermeasure the international intellectual property right, we are attending international conference of World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO). For international use of traditional knowledge, the work for international patent classification(IPC), english key word (8,057 cases), and english translation(4,102case) was performed. We also study content development and it's commercialization with traditional knowledge such as developing manual for oral tradition survey, brand, activity program, children's story, cartoon, and storytelling map.

Excavate Traditional Farming Techniques and Life Skills

Improvement quality and diversification of rural tourism

We have two research priorites; enhancing service quality and diversifying tourism business. For enhancing tourism service quality, we are going to analyze the consumer preference's brand image of farm stay to develop farm stay brand and evaluation indicators and develop cooperative brand for enhancing farm stay business. We are also going to develop diverse tourism business models which are autocamping, food tourism, restaurants, rural festivals, tourism route and educational farms.

  • Publication Farm Stay Service Guidebook & DVD and Evaluation the Quality

Development of settlement support services for refarmers, rural in-migrants and multicultural family and welfare services for rural residents

With the increase of refarmers and rural in-migrants, we have developed education programs and guidebooks for supporting their stable settlement in rural areas. We also have focused on supporting settlement policies of central and local governments. For settlement support of multicultural families increasing through international marriage since 1990, we have developed many policy plans(about 20 cases) and programs such as rural life guide, agriculture·rural life glossary, and self-reliance diagnosis checklist. Especially, we have developed the multicultural thema business guide book and models(6 cases) to improve resources worth of multiculture. In addition, for monitoring rural residents' living condition and supporting policies for rural welfare, we have conducted the survey on rural living and published 'Report on Rural Living Indicators' and 'The Rural Indicators in Korea' annually.

  • Publication Guidebooks for Refarmers, Rural In-migrants and Multicultural Family and Statistical Reports about Rural Living