Bhutan is one of the last remaining biodiversity hot spots in the world, forest cover has now increased to over 72% of the country, with 60% of the country under protection. Bhutan has received international acclaim for its commitment to maintaining biodiversity- keeping at least sixty percent of the country under forest cover and designating more than twenty-five percent as national parks, reserves and protected areas. Bhutan’s flora includes the national flower-the blue poppy, and 360 species of orchids, 46 species of rhododendrons, junipers, magnolia, edelweiss, gentians, primulas, artemisia, daphne, carnivorous plants, high-altitude plants, 5,400 vascular plants and over 500 species of medicinal plants. Bhutan also has a great variety of bird species. It is recognized as an area of high biological diversity and is known as the East Himalayan ‘hot spot’ situated as it is at the hub of 221 global endemic bird areas. The recorded number of bird species is over 670 and there are chances that this number could still go up. A botanist’s paradise!!
Forest types in Bhutan are Fir Forests, Mixed Conifer Forest, Blue Pine Forest, and Chirpine Forest, Broadleaf mixed with Conifer, Upland Hardwood Forest, Lowland Hardwood Forest, and Tropical Lowland Forests. Almost 60% of the plant species that is found in the eastern Himalayan region can be found in Bhutan as well.
Bhutan is also home to about 16 bird species that are endangered worldwide. These include the White bellied heron, Pallas Fish eagle, Blyth’s King fisher to name a few. Phobjikha valley in Wangduephodrang and Bomdeling in Trashiyangtse are also two important places in Bhutan that is visited by the endangered Black Necked Crane. Bhutan is one of the ten global hotspots in the world. Bhutan is all set to preserve and protect the rich environment through environmental organizations.
Besides others that Bhutan can offer to the world, is its pristine environment that is almost intact. Our ecosystem is rich and diverse, because of its location, great geographical and climatic variations. Bhutan’s high, rugged mountains and valleys boast of spectacular biodiversity, earning it a name as one of the world’s ten most important biodiversity hotspots.
Recognizing the importance of environment, conservation of its rich biodiversity is one of its development paradigms. The government has assured of maintaining 60% of its forest resources for all times to come through the recently enacted law passed by the National Assembly. As of today, about 65% of the total land area is under forest cover and about 26% of the land area fall under the protected area. The protected area comprises of four parks that is designated as home for the wild life sanctuaries.