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    Bhutan and its Nature

    Bhutanese consider the natural environment home to gods and goddesses; this belief explains the commitment of the country to protect its environment.

    The Constitution mandates that at least 60% of the total area of the country must be under forest cover at all times. Moreover, Bhutan’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness recognizes the conservation of environment as one of its important pillars. Therefore, all development decisions are made keeping environment at the heart.

    Today at least 72% of Bhutan¹s total land area is under forest cover. And more than 50% of the total forest has been declared as the protected biodiversity corridors.

    The national parks and the wildlife sanctuaries are home to some of the rarest and most significant animals in the world. Bhutan has one of the richest biodiversity in the world with about 3,281 plant species per 10,000 square kilometers and has been declared as one of the ten global biodiversity ‘hotspots’.

    The country’s forests of temperate and sub-tropical species are home to many rare species of flora and fauna. An estimated 770 species of birds and over 50 species of rhododendron, along with an astonishing variety of medicinal plants (over 300 species) and orchids are endemic to this region. Rare animals like the golden langur, takin and snow leopard are found distributed widely in Bhutan. Bhutan is also one of the wintering grounds for the rare and endangered black-necked cranes.

    Bhutan is conserving its environment at a huge economic cost. As more than 75% of the population resides in rural areas depending on subsistence farming, they earn their livelihood from as meager as 3% of the total arable land.

    The country’s economy is largely aid-fed. However, if it thinks certain modalities of assistance might cause damage to the environment, the country declines it.

    The protection and conservation of environment has been one of the significant national goals since the start of planned development in 1961. Every development activity must pass an environment impact assessment.

    Like other least developed countries, Bhutan stands vulnerable to the impacts of climate change given that the country’s river system is fed by the receding Himalayan glaciers.

    To show to the rest of the world how even a small nation like Bhutan can be environmentally responsible, it committed, at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, to remain a carbon-neutral country for all times.