The World’s Most Dangerous Nature Preserve

There are parts of the Earth that were once settled and inhabited by people that have since been abandoned for various reasons. Some of these places were once settlements of ancient civilizations that have been abandoned for centuries while some are more recent. In all of these areas, nature has a way of slowly taking back the evidence of human settlement. Structures deteriorate from the environment and weather and all kinds of plants and animals move in to replace the people who left. National Geographic recently released some amazing photos of one of the more recently abandoned areas of the world, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The DMZ was established in the ceasefire that effectively ended the Korean war in 1953 and anyone who was living there at the time was moved out by the two governments. This buffer zone stretches across the entire Korean peninsula and extends out about 2 kilometers either way from the official boundary of the two countries. Despite its name it is one of the most heavily militarized areas in the world and the site of the world’s largest minefield making any attempt for people to live there suicidal. This abandonment has turned most of the area into a giant nature preserve where plants and animals can live and thrive in peace. The Korean War more than anything else shaped what both Koreas are today and I find it quite interesting that 60 years later one of its most enduring legacies is the world’s most dangerous nature preserve.

It turns out that birds can coexist with land mines just fine.

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