Spatial network analysis to understand changes in the wetlands of South Korea
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The aim of this research is to identify important wetlands in maintaining and supporting various ecological or biological interactions in the Nakdong river basin in South Korea and to examine how the functioning of the wetland system has changed between 1995 and 2015. All wetlands were defined by their role in the network structure and by their spatial hierarchy based on dividing the wetlands into various sub-regions (communities) on the basis of their mutual interactions. Then, the wetland network was better understood by simply expressing dynamics by summarising nodes and edges. In this, wetlands that are important to network maintenance were extracted. There was a considerable difference between the wetlands extracted based on the network analysis and the ones that are currently designated as wetland conservation zones in South Korea. These results show how analysing wetland as a spatial network gives policymakers insight into the holistic functioning of all wetlands within the system, and how this can be used as an alternative way to identify important wetlands for preserving.