Pristine Bhutan Strives To Maintain A Carbon Neutral Development Path

Email

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

A Bhutanese girl seen walking in the Punakha Valley. (Source: Xpatmatt)

 

By Pema Seldon The Bhutanese

Given that the conservation of our environment has been recognised as one of the four pillars of the Gross National Happiness (GNH), Bhutan has committed to remain carbon neutral at the 2009 Conference of Parties in Copenhagen.

This pledge was further reaffirmed at the 2015 Paris agreement in which Bhutan sought to maintain a healthy balance between development and conservation of the environment.

With the majority of Bhutan’s population dependent on agriculture, and the economy heavily reliant on hydropower and tourism, climate change will have serious implications on Bhutan’s socioeconomic development.

Bhutan is haven for a vast variety of flora and fauna

Bhutan is also a biodiversity hotspot with over 6000 species of flora and approximately 1900 species of fauna, as mentioned in the 12th plan’s document.

 

The elusive and endangered snow leopard is found in Bhutan.

Photo: WWF/Bhutan

 

Today, approximately 71 per cent of Bhutan's total area is maintained under forest cover, of which 51.4% are protected areas, 8.6% are ecological corridors while the Royal Botanical Parks constitute another 0.1%.

Thus, ensuring a healthy ecosystem has been identified as one the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) in the 12th plan.

Rural residents feel strongly about environmental conservation

The GNH Survey in 2015 found a high prevalence of pro-environmental beliefs amongst the population.

However, a slight difference exists between the rural and urban residents, with more rural residents having stronger pro-environmental beliefs as compared to their urban counterparts.

A large majority of the population reported that they feel highly responsible for conserving the natural environment, according to the 12th plan’s document.

It is stated that with the rapid pace of socio-economic development, pressures on the natural environment are rising.

Negative impact of rapid development on the environment

The conversion of forests into other land uses is increasing. It has also been found that between 2008 and 2014, 9,426 hectares (ha) of state reserved forest land were lost to construction of transmission lines, 5462 ha to farm roads and 5,208 ha to long term land lease.

 

Verdant fields of a village in Bhutan. 

Photo: Abdullah Mahmud 1311

 

Moreover, between 2011 and 2012, 153 ha of state land were allocated from ‘protected areas’ and 2,561 ha of land from other state land for developmental purposes, leading to habitat fragmentation.

In order to address the challenges and achieve this NKRA, various strategies such as: innovative financing for the sustainable management of protected areas, initiated payment for ecosystem services and strengthened research on biodiversity information has been identified.

Sustainable natural resources management and the utilisation and enhanced environment service delivery will be implemented to achieve the NKRA.

With regards to climate change, the 12th plan’s document states that Bhutan is a net carbon sink with an estimated sequestration capacity of 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, with an annual emission of 2.1 million tons.

Bhutan is vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change

The document also states that: “Bhutan’s mountainous terrain and variation in agro-ecological zone renders it vulnerable to impacts of climate change and disasters. There are increasing incidences of forest fires and glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), drying up of water sources, outbreak of crop diseases, windstorm, erratic and high intensity of rainfall.”

 

Bhutan's glacier lake in Lunana.

Photo: The Third Pole

 

In order to mitigate the negative impact of climate change, some of the strategies identified to address the challenges include: mainstreaming the environment in all sectoral and local government plans, managing waste through the ‘Pay as You Throw Approach’ or ‘Big Bin Small Bin approach’, enhancing adaptation to climate change as well as strengthening preparedness and responses to both natural and man-made disasters.

Some programs which are to be implemented in the 12th plan are as follows:

  • Enhancement of solid waste prevention and management
  • Strengthening ambient air quality
  • Monitoring system and environment-flow standards
  • Low emission and enhanced adaptation to climate change
  • Enhancement of disaster risk reduction and management
  • Climate smart and disaster resilient development
  • Safe, reliable eco-friendly and sustainable surface transportation.

 

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

 


Related Posts

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

‘Bhutan For Life’ Aims To Safeguard Its Protected Areas And...

The ‘Protected Areas’ in Bhutan comprises of four national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and one nature reserve.

Dec 14, 2018 11:07

In A Bid To Reduce Consumption Of HFCs, Bhutan Ratifies Kigali...

The Kigali Amendment requires the phasing down on the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Jan 18, 2019 08:24

Bhutan Trust Fund for Environment Conservation Approved Nu 90.63m...

Two projects will be focussing on adaptation, another two on mitigation, three on security and one on social well-being.

Jan 19, 2019 11:41

Tree Hugger Photo Competition Organised In Bhutan To Celebrate...

The categories are as follows: the Best Tree Hugger, Smallest Tree Hugger, Largest Tree Hugger, Oldest Tree Hugger,...

Aug 30, 2018 12:32

Concept Of A Model Organic Village Initiated In Bhutan For...

The concept developed through funds from the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) will bring...

Jul 06, 2018 17:17

Latest

News

Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was sufficient to support...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other rights of women and girls

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable positions, burdening them...

May 12, 2020 16:46

Features

Story of Final Year College Student Who Joined college after reopening of eduction institution amid outbreak of COVID 19

Sonam Dorji a final year student shares this thought on his first day of college amid pandemic.

Jul 04, 2020 14:03

Significant pilgrimage sites of Guru Rinpochoe in Bhutan

Discover sacred pilgrim sites of Guru Rinpochoe in Bhutan and the reasons why every buddhist must travel to these most venerated places of...

Jul 01, 2020 11:28

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

Once the booming Handicraft Shops in Paro Dying- Paro Today

Paro town looks so different in its history as tourist destination in Bhutan.

Jun 24, 2020 16:58

Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

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

Mar 06, 2020 11:48

Travel

Reasons why one should visit Druk Wangditse Lhakhang

The temple is reconstructed to its glory and is dedicated to his majesty the king of Bhutan.

Jul 08, 2020 14:43

You cannot travel to Bhutan without tour guides - Featuring Mr Tobgay, experienced senior guide from Druk Asia.

In this series, Dailybhutan speaks to licensed tour guide Mr Tobgay who is one of the most senior and experienced tour guides working for...

Jun 21, 2020 21:07

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!