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Natural Environment and Biodiversity of Bhutan


Bhutan being a small landlocked country, more than 70% of land is under forest coverage. Pristine natural heritage is the wealth of the country which the Royal Government of Bhutan pledges to maintain minimum of 60% for all time. Conservation of natural environment is one of the ways to achieve Gross National Happiness, emphasizing more than Gross Domestic Product. Development policies are made in Bhutan in accordance with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness ensuring ecological balanced sustainable development and green Bhutan.
One of the ancient names of Bhutan, ‘Menjong Yul’ rightly interprets the country as land of the medicinal herbs with rich in biodiversity. Bhutan has been treasuring the natural environment for centuries. Even in the 21st century, the inhabitants and natural heritage live intact in harmony, passing it on to future generations. High rugged mountains in the north extending all the way down to the southern foothill, rich in biodiversity makes Bhutan one of the top ten ‘Hotspots’ in the world.
Royal Government of Bhutan hosted the Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation in association with the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative in October 2012, which the 13 tiger range countries attended. As many tigers losing their homes due to human effort in deforesting, Bhutan promised to preserve the natural environment for them. Tiger is affiliated even with Bhutanese legend and religion; four animals (Tak- Tiger, Seng – Lion, Chung – Garuda and Druk – Dragon). These are regarded as protectors of Buddhism.
Bhutan is also known as ecological paradise with wide range of flora and fauna; Takin, Tiger, rhododendron, orchids and blue poppy. These flowers and animals are found in the national parks and sanctuaries. Many of the trekking routes are in the national parks where one would get to see the flowers and if lucky enough even animals. About 26.23% of total forest area has been protected as national parks and wild life sanctuaries. The trekkers may not notice walking through one of the protected areas and biological corridors.  
All the protected areas and wildlife sanctuaries are mainly managed by Ministry of Agriculture and Forest. Royal Society for Protection of Nature manages places for endangered bird species like Phobjikha Valley and Bumdeling for black necked cranes. Bhutan Trust Fund for Environment Conservation also looks after 16,000 square kilometers of protected areas. Most of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are inter-connected, at least with biological corridors.

National Parks and Protected areas
Wangchuck Centenial Park
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park
Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
Royal Manas National Park
Phrumsengla National Park
Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary
Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve
Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary

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