Vision 2020: Milestones Achieved In The Conservation Of Bhutan's Biodiversity And Forests

Email

The kingdom has received international acclaim for its carbon-neutral status and maintenance of its biodiversity.

(Source: Beautifulnow)

 

By Choki Wangmo | Kuensel

As envisioned in the Vision 2020 document, Bhutan’s long term commitment to the maintenance of its biological diversity is rooted in the understanding of the importance of forest systems.

Thus far, Bhutan has achieved major milestones through its sound policy instruments in the conservation of its environment.

The kingdom has received international acclaim for its carbon-neutral status and maintenance of its biodiversity as reflected in the decision to maintain at least 60 percent of its land under forest cover.

However, the process of constant adaptation remains a question in the face of global climate change.

The vision states that: Our approach to environmental conservation will not be a static one. It will be given a dynamic and development-oriented interpretation in which natural resources are not only seen as something to be preserved but also as a development asset.

Achievements so far

Today, Bhutan’s total forest cover is 83.90 percent, consisting of 70.77 percent trees and 13.13 percent shrubs.

About 51 percent of the area is designated as national parks, nature reserves, and other protected areas.

 

Source: Youtube/KnowMore

 

Although this feat is commendable, according to forest analyst Phuntsho Namgyel (PhD), increased forest cover in the country has come at the cost of agricultural lands and grasslands.

For instance, agricultural lands decreased from 9.26 percent in the 1970s to 2.75 percent in 2016. Similarly, meadows declined from 4.07 percent in 1995 to 2.51 percent today.

“These non-tree ecosystems are rich in biodiversity and support high densities of domestic animals and wildlife. These species loss and resulting habitat change remains a serious threat to our national food security and ecological integrity,” Phuntsho Namgyel explained.

Moreover, overstocked forests with suppressed, unhealthy and stressed trees are susceptible to pests, diseases, drought, and forest fires while disrupting groundwater supplies.

Currently, contribution of the forestry sector to Bhutan’s GDP is only three percent. However, in 1999, when Vision 2020 was launched, the figure was 6.6 percent.

According to statistics, there is a timber reserve of 1,001 million m3 growing at an annual rate of 13.5 million m3 in Bhutan.

The total wood removed from the forest is a maximum of 0.5 million, which is a mere 3.7 percent of Bhutan’s sustainable harvest level.

Phuntsho Namgyel said that there was hardly any timber extraction happening in the country.

“At the village and household level, forest resource is not an important economic activity generating any worthwhile cash income.”

“By increasing the harvesting level from the current 0.39 million m3 to 5 million m3, the forest sector can generate an annual revenue of Nu. 50 billion, which is comparatively more than hydropower,” he added.

Tapping the potential of Bhutan’s forestry sector

A recent World Bank report also noted that Bhutan’s forestry sector constitutes an important but underutilised sector of the economy.

If the principles of sustainable forestry are applied fully, it could significantly increase forest productivity, improve ecological resilience and increase employment opportunities.

Vision 2020 further states that there is a need to display a higher degree of sensitivity to the maintenance of biodiversity.

 

Source: Youtube/WWF Bhutan

 

For instance, the nation’s commitment to pine tree conservation has contributed to a reduction of biodiversity - pine forest has taken over alpine meadowlands, leading to loss of plants, birds, and insects that formed part of the ecosystem.

The National Forest Inventory report 2018 recorded three percent (98,563 ha) of chirpine forest and four percent (137,230 ha) of blue pine forest in the country.

In addition, the environment is also under threat from population pressures, agricultural modernisation, hydropower and mineral development as well as industrialisation, urbanisation, sewage and waste disposal, competition for arable land and road construction, among others.

Meanwhile, strict conservation rules have garnered Bhutan the greatest biodiversity-rich country in Asia. The pristine kingdom was also declared as one of the world’s 10 most important biodiversity ‘hotspots’.

 

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

 

 


Related Posts

Bhutan’s Commitment To Maintain Its Carbon Negative Status And...

The land where Bhutan is located has an exceptional concentration of endemic species.

Jul 15, 2019 23:38

National Biodiversity Monitoring Protocol Drafted To Ensure That...

The development of the protocol is Bhutan's first attempt to put in place a proper biodiversity monitoring system at the...

Jun 15, 2019 15:18

Haven For Flora And Fauna, Bhutan Is Host To More Than 11,000...

The biodiversity statistics of Bhutan 2017 is the first publication presenting accurate and up to date status of the...

May 25, 2019 15:58

How Bhutan Managed To Maintain 72% Of Its Land Under Forest Cover

This widely acclaimed feat was made possible, kudos to the far-sighted vision of a handful of people in the past.

Oct 22, 2019 21:55

Advocating For A More Balanced Approach Towards Sustainable...

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

Jul 26, 2019 21:18

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

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

Things to Know about the Queen of Bhutan - Ashi Jetsun Pema Wangchuck

The King of Bhutan told reporters. "She is a wonderful human being, intelligent." "She and I share one big thing in common: a love and...

Jun 01, 2020 23:39

One of the Inspiring Bhutanese Artists to Watch This Summer- Pema Gyeltshen

Pema is a rising artists producing paintings with diverse theme including region, tradition, culture, everday life, abstracts and self...

May 29, 2020 17:20

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

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

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58

Travel

Wangdue Phodrang - The gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan

Known as Sha or east to the Bhutanese, Wangduephodrang district is an important gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan. The region, the...

May 27, 2020 08:47

Reasons Why Dagala Trek is Every Trekkers Dream

May 13, 2020 11:30

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!