Environmental sustainability is a cornerstone of Bhutan’s unique development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) propounded by His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Bhutan entered the 21st century with a very healthy state of environment. This has been possible largely due to strong political commitment and farsighted leadership, traditional values and a way of life that reveres nature. Today, Bhutan is a proud owner to an environment that houses one of the global biodiversity hotspots of the world.
Forests occupy over 72.5% of the total land. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan mandates 60% of the country to remain under forest cover for all times to come.
Bhutan is blessed with enormous water resources as a result of the many glaciers and glacial lakes, vast forest cover and high precipitation. All the Hydropower projects are being fed by these waters which are also dubbed the ‘White Gold.’
Bhutan’s natural environment is home to more than 5,600 species of vascular plants, 600 species of birds and 190 species of mammals. 14 species of birds found in Bhutan are among the endangered species in the world. Bhutan is often called the ‘conservation jewel of the eastern Himalayas.’
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
A large chunk of the country falls under protected zone. The national protected area system covers an area of 10,879 km square, which is 29.96 % of the country’s total area. There are a total of nine protected areas under the National Park System.