Bhutan is one of the last remaining biological hotspots in the world. With 70% of the total land mass under forest cover, Bhutan has the widest range of flora and fauna found in south Asia. Almost 60% of the plant species found in the eastern Himalayan region are present in Bhutan. It is recognized as an area of high biological diversity and is known as the East Himalayan ‘hot spot’.
The type of forest found in Bhutan are Upland Hardwood Forest ,Lowland Hardwood Forest, and Tropical Lowland which are a collection of Fir, Blue Pine, Chir pine , and Broadleaf mixed with Conifer. Around 300 species of medicinal plants and about 46 species of rhododendrons are found in Bhutan. Some common sights for the visitors are the Magnolias, Junipers, Orchids, Gentian, medicinal plants, Daphne, Giant Rhubarb, Fir, Pine, and Oaks.
A wide range of rare and endangered animals can be sighted frequently in the dense jungles and high mountains of Bhutan. Due to the Nation’s conservation efforts and its unspoiled natural environment, Bhutan has maintained its forests well enough for some of the rarest species of plants to thrive within its boundaries and has thus been classified as one of the last biodiversity hotspots in the world.
Some high altitude species found in Bhutan are the Snow Leopards, Bengal Tigers that are found at an altitude ranging from 3000 to 4000 meters and the Red panda, Gorals, Himalayan Black Bear, Sambars, Wild Pigs, Barking Deer, Blue Sheep and Musk Deer.
In the tropical forests of Southern Bhutan one can come across Clouded Leopards, the One -horned Rhinoceros, Elephants, Water Buffaloes and Swamp Deer. You can even find the Golden Langur, a species of monkey that is unique to Bhutan.
Bhutan also has a great variety of bird species, the hub of 221 global endemic bird areas. The recorded number of bird species is over 670 and is expected to rise as new birds are discovered.
In addition, 57% of Bhutan’s globally threatened birds and 90% of the country’s rare birds are dependent on forests. Bhutan has about 415 resident bird species. These birds are seasonal migrants moving up and down the mountains depending on the seasons and weather conditions. Of about 50 species of birds that migrate during the winters are the buntings, waders, ducks, thrushes and the birds of prey. Some 40 species are partial migrants and they include species such as swifts, cuckoos, bee-eaters, fly catchers, and warblers.
Bhutan is also home to about 16 bird species that are endangered worldwide. These include the White bellied heron, Pallas Fish eagle, and Blyth’s Kingfisher to name a few. Phobjikha valley in Wangdue Phodrang and Bomdeling in Trashi Yangtse are also two especially important locations for the endangered Black Necked Cranes.
As one of the ten global hotspots, Bhutan is committed to preserving and protecting its rich environment through its government and environmental organizations. This commitment is apparent in the fact that the kingdom has the distinct honor of being one of the only nations whose forest cover has actually grown over the years.
Bhutan is home to the highest altitude inhabiting Tigers in the world and they are commonly found throughout the country. Visitors can experience the magnificent flora and fauna of Bhutan through sightseeing tours or by embarking on treks and hikes through beautiful virgin forests, pristine Himalayan Mountains and across sparkling crystal clear rivers fed by ancient mountain glaciers. Roads in Bhutan pass through the rich forests so travelers can experience the majestic natural environments of Bhutan.
Along with the spectacular natural vegetation, Bhutan has in store a wide range of National Parks and Sanctuaries. Roads of Bhutan pass through the magnificent green forest so that every enthusiastic traveler can witness the natural beauty bestowed in the environment. Bhutan is also known as the ecological paradise with a wide range of flora and fauna.
Bhutan has currently managed to preserve 72.5% of its total landmass under forest cover and has a strategy to maintain a minimum of 60% forest cover at all times to come. Emphasizing the strategy, Bhutan celebrates forestry day on 2nd June coinciding with the coronation of the Fourth King. This is the day when every citizen of Bhutan has to plant a sapling. The Global significance of preservation of natural environment has become the central pillar of Bhutan’s identity. Government rules and regulations are un amending when it comes to the forest and natural resources preservation. Nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are maintained not only to preserve forest but also to conserve the wildlife in the kingdom. They are not only well protected but are also ensured that no harm may fall upon them from the public.
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