Bhutan lies in the eastern Himalayaian range with rich in natural heritage of histrocial record and the country is called “Valley of Medicinal Herbs”. The country’s rich flora and fauna is the result of its unique geographic locations and maintained and protected its natural resources and environment still richly intact.
Bhutan forest cover comprises a multitude of valuable species of trees, a wide variety of valuable and enchanting flora and amazing range of wildlife. For centuries forest covered the entire country. As a result flora and fauna flourish in abundant in Bhutan with diverses varities of plant life including the plants that have been identified as medicinal properties.Today Bhutan is one only the very few remaining countries which possesse such a high percentage of forest cover. Bhutan has a rich natural environment with beautiful landscape, fresh stream and rivers and hidden minerals which gains consistent with the central principle of sustainable development.
Bhutan with many glacier mountains, the geroges are brown and barren in summer because of high wind and they are covered with snow all the year round. The expensive forest that cover more than 62% of Bhutan’s area give a birth to many rivers and streams which now Bhutan is targeting to produce a electicity of 10,000 MW by 2020.
Flora & Fauna
Bhutan flora are found ranging from altitude of 200m to as high as 4000 m elevation and over 5400 different species are found including 300 species of herbal plants and over 50 species of rhododendron and 378 species of orchid. Bhutan’s national flower called Blue Poppy grows above the altitude between 3500-4500m above the sea level.
In the southern belt, the narrow tropical vegetation supports the habitat of elephant, rhino, langur, buffalo, deer, tiger and birds of different characteristic of Indo-Malayan species. In the high Hamalayas blue sheep, takin, musk deer and snow leopard are found. In Bhutan, more than 770 species of birds and flora are recorded. Bhutan also have a hot spot of black necked crane valley in Phobjikha in Wangdu, Bondeling in Trashiyangtse and Gyetsa in Bumthang.
National Parks & Protected Areas
Bhutan’s history of isolation and policy of sustainable development provides decision makers with a unique opportunity to conserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage. As a first step in conserving its natural heritage, Bhutan has established a system of nine protected areas. The system sets aside approximately 26% of country’s total land area in national parks, nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation areas.
Kingdom established its national park system to protect important ecosystems, and they have not been developed as tourist attraction. In many case people even won’t be aware that they are entering or leaving a national park or wild life sanctuary.
Jigme Dorji National Park
It is the largest protected area in the country, encompassing an area of 4,349 sq. km, covering the western parts of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha and almost entire area of Gasa district. JDNP is the only park in the country that has all the four national symbols: blue poppy, takin, raven, and cypress. It is also the only park where the Royal Bengal Tiger meets the Snow Leopard.
Royal Manas National Park
Royal Manas National Park was Bhutan‘s first example of the conservation philosophy of the country. Manas Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1966, when most of the Bhutan was under pristine forest cover. The Park has an area of 1,023 sq km in south central Bhutan adjoins the Black Mountain National Park to the north and India’s Manas National Park and Manas Tiger reserve to the south. It is home of rhinoceros, buffalo, tiger, leopard, gaur, bear, elephant, wild dog, pygmy hog, hispid hare and several species of deer.
Black Mountain National Park
This reserve with an area of 1,723 sq km protects the range of hills that separates eastern and western Bhutan. The plant includes wide range of broadleaf species, conifers and alpine pastures. Animal life includes tiger, Himalayan black bear, leopard, red panda, goral, serow, sambar, wild pig and golden langur. The Phobjikha valley, wintering place of black necked crane, is included in this park.
Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary
This 278 sq km area is in southern border of Bhutan, about 50 km east of Phuentsholing and protects sal forests of the country. Several protected species thrive in the sanctuary including axis deer, chital, elephant, gaur, tiger, golden langur and hornbill.
Thrumshing la National Park
The 768 sq km Thrumshing la National Park lies between Bumthang and Mongar and protects temperate forests of fir and chir pine. It is known for its scenic views, dense forests and alpine meadows. Presence of threatened species viz. rufous necked hornbill, Satyra tragopan, Ward’s trogon, chestnut breasted partridge is a noteworthy feature of this reserve.
KholongChhu Wildlife Sanctuary
With an area of 1, 300 sq km, this reserve is a large area of alpine tundra. The sanctuary protects the sambar and adjoins the Bomdeling conservation area, which is an important roosting place of black-necked cranes in winter.
Sakten Wildlife Sanctuary
Its in easternmost part of the country protecting 650 sq km temperate forests of eastern blue pine and rhododendron. This sanctury is established to protect the habitat of yeti.
Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated in far south-eastern Bhutan with an area of 273 sq km this sanctuary protects wild elephant, gaur, pygmy hog, hispid hare and other tropical wildlife.
Toorsa Nature Reserve
It is in western part of the Ha district where Toorsa river enters from Tibet. This 644 sq km reserve was established to protect the temperate forests of far west Bhutan.