The Korean peninsula is located at the heart of the North Western Pacific region, lies contiguous to China and Russia, and near the Japanese archipelago. The Korean peninsula encompasses 221,000km2, 45% of which (99,600kmC2) makes up the Republic of Korea(ROK). 70% of the 960km long peninsula is mostly mountainous and the coastline surrounding the three sides is highly indented giving a broad terrestrial and marine ecosystem with relatively high biological diversity. 20% of the ROK is used for agriculture while forests cover 65% of the land.
Based on the global ecological map, the Korean peninsula lies in the east of the temperate forest zone. This geological position contributes to the distinct seasonal temperature and precipitation.
The main mountain range of the Korean peninsula is the Baekdudaegan Mountains. It is the longest series of mountain ranges that forms the great backbone of the Korean topography. It stretches 1,400km down from Mt. Baekdu which is situated at the China-DPRK border and has Korea's highest peak at 2744m. Mt. Baekdu is regarded as a sacred place with a mythical background as the birthplace of the Korean race. It is located on the Gaema Plateau which is also known as the roof of Korea with an average elevation of 1,500m. the Baekdudaegan Mountains extends from Baekdu Mountain all the way down to Mt. Jiri, including major mountains such as Mt. Geumgang, Mt. Seorak, and Mt. Taebaek. In the Republic of Korea, 684km of BDMS covers 9 national and provincial parks and encompasses 6 provinces.
With respect to slopes, stream flow, and other physical conditions, the east and the west each has a unique structure. The high and steep mountains in Korea are mainly found along the east coast forming a rather smooth coastline with narrow streams and alluvium beaches. Whereas plains mostly make up the west and the south coasts that comprise thousands of islands, small bays, and peninsulas.