Every fall, people pick up acorns from the mountains.
However, it is illegal to harvest forest products from the mountains, such as acorns, mushrooms and chestnuts.
[Reporter: What do you collect here?]
[Citizen: I didn't.
It's my first time here.]
[Reporter: No, is the first person carrying a bag like this?]
[Citizen: No, who is here ?]
[Enforcement Team: Sir, stand for a moment.]
[Citizen: I don't know.
I got it without knowing anything.]
Under the current law, it is illegal to take all forest products harvested from the mountains without permission and is subject to criminal punishment.
In autumn, such as Bukhansan and Jirisan, national parks are crowded with hikers.
However, illegally harvesting forest products here can be punished by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to 30 million won under the Natural Parks Act, and the harsher criminal law applies to national and private forests.
[Park Bo-hyeon/Bukbu Forest Service Forestry Crime Investigation Team: Even ordinary hikers sometimes pick (forest products) while climbing
. It's not that we're cracking down on things that grow in the forest because they're not commons.
The most important reason is to protect the animals and their ecosystems that grow in the mountains.
As the number of people picking up forest products increases one by one, food sources for animals that will spend the winter in the mountains will gradually disappear.
In addition, forests can be damaged by harvesting and creating sideways.
[Yoon Tae-yong/Environmental Management Department of National Parks Corporation: If there is no food source in the mountain, wild animals are bound to come down in search of food, so there may be more cases where they go to an adjacent field and eat food.]
In fact, there are about 20 cases of this problem .
It has been raised since years ago.
Citizens voluntarily collect acorns and enforcement teams are working to increase the number of crackdowns, but this problem is not easily solved.
Rather, the number of cases of detection continues to increase, and the enforcement team prepares for harvesters who move in the early morning or late at night.
[Park Bo-hyun / Northern Regional Forest Service Forest Crime Investigation Team: Among law enforcement officers, those with drone licenses are using drones to crack down.
Since securing evidence is more and more important, we are also using field equipment such as action cams.]
[Yoon Tae-yong/National Park Corporation Environmental Management Department: I saw acorns after coming to see the autumn leaves. I know that there are some cases where wild animals are brought with them.]
We must remember 'don't pick up acorns in the mountains' so that wild animals can have a bountiful winter.
▶ Acorns I picked up inadvertently after going to the mountains…
A small disaster for the ecosystem