During the colonial period in the early 20th Century, around three years of the Korean War that broke out in 1950 after the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948 and the postwar period of political and social turmoil, the forests on the Korean Peninsula faced severe devastation. As a result, the forest devastation rate exceeded 80 percent, and the growing stock was less than 10m³/ha in the early 1960s. Even when forest rehabilitation began in 1978, growing stock reached only 17m³/ha (in 2010, 125.6m³/ha). The soil productivity of forests that occupied 65% of the country remained extremely low, and forest resource development and the production base had been almost destroyed.
Therefore, forest resources were limited to collectable forest products such as fuel-wood, and the economic benefits to residents in rural and mountain villages were quite insignificant. At that time, it was urgent to restore forests to prevent forest disasters. Otherwise, forest deterioration would result in more harm than the good generated by the economic benefits to forest owners and residents in mountain villages. The government promoted both forest rehabilitation and income-boosting projects to reduce poverty in rural and mountain villages through forest resource development.