Advocating For A More Balanced Approach Towards Sustainable Forest Management In Bhutan: World Bank

Email

According to the World Bank’s latest report, forestry constitutes an important but under-utilised economic sector in Bhutan.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

By Phub Gyem Kuensel

Despite having vast forest covers, only five percent of the total forest area in Bhutan is currently under commercial management. This makes the tiny Himalayan Kingdom a net importer of forest-based products.

According to the World Bank’s latest report, forestry constitutes an important but under-utilised economic sector in Bhutan. 

Statistics on the forestry sector in Bhutan

As per Bhutan’s national accounts, forestry contributed between 2.9 percent and 2.4 percent of its GDP between 2013 and 2017.

In Bhutan, the Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL) is the most important entity which supplies commercial logs and fuel wood, covering almost 80 percent of the total forestry activities.   

 

Map: World Bank

 

In addition, forest areas designated to community forestry groups account for three percent and forest area utilised by rural households for subsistence use accounts for another seven percent.

While environmental benefits are prioritised by Bhutan’s forest policies, the World Bank states that there is a clear rationale for a more balanced approach towards sustainable forest management, that is - between environmental conservation and economic development objectives.

Suggestions on how to achieve sustainable forest management in Bhutan

A sustainable forest management, it suggests, will be able to provide the basis for a triple win: for Bhutan’s economic growth, for securing peoples’ livelihoods, and for the global environment agenda which includes combating climate change and conserving biodiversity.

Some suggestions on how to improving the productivity of Bhutan’s forestry sector are:

  1. building up forest-based small and medium enterprises, and
  2. developing new job opportunities in the wood-based and construction industry.

The approach is expected to generate jobs, revenue, and new income sources especially for the rural population and urban youth of Bhutan.  

 

Source: WWF Bhutan

 

It will also focus on co-benefits linked to increased resilience, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity conservation.

The World Bank also recommends transforming the forestry sector by investing in forest-based enterprises such as trading timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) without disturbing Bhutan’s mandated 60 percent forest cover.

Benefits which sustainable forest management will bring

More investments in wood-substitution technology will allow Bhutan to replace greenhouse gas emission-intense materials like steel and cement with wood. For instance, using cross-laminated timber technologies which will store carbon for a lifetime.

Accordingly, sustainable forest management will be able to provide opportunities to increase timber harvesting volume within sustainable harvesting levels.

 

 

Graphic: World Bank

 

It will also aid in the development of forest-based industries; the use of wood-based construction materials; building expertise on wood engineering and architecture; and moving parts of the timber market from a fixed-price to a competitive system.

In addition, the long-term opportunity offered by sustainable forest management includes the production of domestic charcoal, high-value furniture industry, and online timber and NTFP auctioning system.

Some objections faced in developing Bhutan’s forest industry

Even though there are many advantages which the above-mentioned developments may bring, sustainable forest management does face some potential challenges. Some of which are:

  1. strong sense of favouring forest protection over forest utilisation;
  2. shortages of capacity and technologies for sustainable forest management;
  3. lack of skilled labour in forest-based industries; and
  4. the shortfall of funds needed to invest in the development of the forestry sector and related industries.

According to the National Environment Commission, between 2008 and 2014, about 23,300 acres of government reserved forest land was lost to the construction of transmission lines, 13, 500 acres to farm roads, and 12,900 acres to long-term land lease.

In addition, between 2011 and 2012, 378 acres of government land was allocated from protected areas and 6,330 acres of land from other state lands for developmental purposes which led to habitat fragmentation.

The rate of conversion of Bhutan’s forests into other land uses is increasing and this trend remains a concern for the government.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Community Forest Members In Bumthang, Bhutan Undergo Training In...

For some of the trainees who are still in their early 20s, the training enables them to be equipped with new job skills.

Jan 12, 2019 11:41

International Climate Initiative and WWF Germany To Support...

A team from WWF Bhutan and Germany visited seven of the nine targeted districts in the country’s Southwestern region to...

May 22, 2019 11:48

Pristine Bhutan Strives To Maintain A Carbon Neutral Development...

Bhutan is also a biodiversity hotspot with over 6000 species of flora and approximately 1900 species of fauna.

Jan 25, 2019 17:38

Carbon Negative Bhutan Strives To Maintain Its Status As The...

The mountainous state absorbs three times more carbon dioxide than it emits, thanks mainly to the lush forests covering...

Oct 12, 2018 17:36

Study Finds Homestays And Eco-tourism Helped Preserve Bhutan’s...

The evaluation found that 98 percent of the homestays used exclusive traditional products like local food products and...

Aug 25, 2018 16:17

On Her Birthday, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Urges Bhutanese To Be...

Since Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen’s Birth Anniversary coincides with the World Environment Day today, the biggest gift...

Jun 05, 2019 18:28

Latest

News

USD 25.3m Green Climate Fund To Address Climate Change Adaption In Bhutan

The project can help address climate change adaptation challenges facing Bhutan, particularly in the agriculture sector.

Jan 15, 2020 16:28

Bhutan’s Target To Become A 100% Organic Nation By 2020 Delayed – Pushed To 2035

Efforts to translate Bhutan’s organic vision into reality has met with various challenges thus far.

Jan 04, 2020 23:28

Features

Bhutan’s Government Ramped Up Support For More To Drive Electric Vehicles, Help Reduce Harmful Emissions

The dealers and the manager have given the taxi drivers their guarantee on battery and the important parts of the EV.

Jan 16, 2020 23:28

Pangri Zampa Lhakhang - The College of Astrology

Locals visit the monastery every year to learn about their yearly predictions about their luck, money, health, career and many more....

Jan 15, 2020 09:46

Sports

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Economic Roadmap Needed To Steer Bhutan Towards Higher GDP Growth

The Lyonchhen said that the economic figures will improve in 2020 as 70 percent of the capital investments still lie unused.

Jan 17, 2020 23:38

Celebrating Bhutan’s entrepreneurs: Tashi Wangdi of iHub

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Jan 12, 2020 23:38

Travel

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08

Discover The Hidden Gems Of Trashiyangtse In Eastern Bhutan

Till date, the eastern part of Bhutan is still relatively unexplored as compared to the western region.

Jan 11, 2020 23:48

Lifestyle

Relish Your Taste Buds With 8 Delectable Bhutanese Staple Food

One of the best places to try authentic Bhutanese cuisine is through a homestay, where you will get to sample what most locals eat at home.

Jan 19, 2020 21:08

Here’s What it is like inside Hotel River Valley, Punakha in Bhutan

River Valley Hotel offers professional and customer oriented services and thereby has become the leading hotel in the region ’. Experience...

Jan 05, 2020 10:48

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!