The Paektusan Biosphere Reserve in Samjiyon City, Ryanggang Province, comprises Mt Paektu, the sacred mountain of the Korean revolution, and the wide areas around it.
Since its designation as the Paektusan Plant Reserve in Juche 35 (1946), the Mt Paektu area has been under conservation as the Paektusan Nature Reserve and the Paektusan Revolutionary Battle Sites Special Reserve. In April 1989, it was inscribed on the list of world biosphere reserves so as to protect the biodiversity of the Mt Paektu area under the worldwide concern.
The natural elements of Mt Paektu present spectacular scenes. They include geology, topography that formed in the courses of several volcanic eruptions and their evolution, and animals and plants, and hydrological movements of Lake Chon.
For high elevation and unique topographical conditions of the mountain, the weather is very changeable with great variations in climate from one area to another. Its annual average temperature is about -4℃ and its annual average precipitation is about 1 500 mm.
The mountain is surrounded by over 2 000-m-high peaks, including Janggun Peak (2 750m), Hyangdo Peak (2 712m), Ssangmujigae Peak (2 626m) and Haeppal Peak (2 719m), which form precipitous cliffs.
The reserve is inhabited by over 300 species of vertebrates, including such mammals as sable, tiger, deer, red deer, brown bear and such birds as black grouse and pheasant, and over 1 700 species of invertebrates. Also distributed there are some 3 000 species of plants, including spermatophyte, pteridophyte, bryophyta, lichenes, mushrooms and algae.
Many research and educational institutions are conducting regular exploration, research, management and conservation of the biosphere reserve.