Flora & Fauna
Physically, Bhutan can be divided into three zones: Alpine Zone (4000m and above) with no forest cover; the Temperate Zone (2000 to 4000m) with conifer or broadleaf forests; and the Subtropical Zone (150m to 2000m) with Tropical or Subtropical vegetation. Ensuing from its wide range of altitude and climate, compounded by its 72 percent forest cover, the flora and fauna of Bhutan is diverse and rich.
Forest types in Bhutan are Fir Forests, Mixed Conifer Forest, Blue Pine Forest, Chirpine Forest, Broadleaf mixed with Conifer, Upland Hardwood Forest, Lowland Hardwood Forest, and Tropical Lowland Forests. More than 60 percent of the common plant species of the Eastern Himalayas can be found within Bhutan.
There are also 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, magnolias, carnivorous plants, rare orchids, blue poppy (the national flower), edelweiss, gentian, medicinal plants, daphne, giant rhubarb, high-altitude plants, tropical trees, pine and oak are also common sights.
Bhutan is heaven to a wide range of animals. Snow leopard, blue sheep, red panda, tiger, takin, marmot and musk deer are some of the species found in the high altitude. Temperate zone is a habitat to Tiger, leopard, goral, gray langur, Himalayan black beer, red panda, sambar, wild pig, and barking deer. The tropical forests in the south have tiger, clouded leopard, elephants, one horned Rhinoceros, water buffalo, golden langur, gaur, swamp deer, hog deer horn bills, among many others.
Bhutan is also considered a place favorable for birds. 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. Over 670 species of birds have been recorded and many more are likely to be found.
In addition, 57% of Bhutan’s globally threatened birds and 90% of the country’s restricted rare birds are dependent on forests. Bhutan has about 415 resident bird species. These inhabitant birds are altitudinal refugees, moving up and down the mountains depending upon the seasons and weather conditions. Around 50 species are known to be winter migrants. These include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings. About 40 species of summer visitors or partial migrants to Bhutan include cuckoos, swifts, bee-eaters, warblers, flycatchers and drongos. The country harbours more than 16 species of internationally vulnerable birds. They are Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White bellied Heron, Satyr Tragopan, Grey bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogaon, Blyth’s King Fisher, rumped Honey Guide, Purple Cochoa, Rufous throated Wren Babbler, Red headed Parrot Bill, Chestnut breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Trogon, Wood Snipe, Dark Rumped Swift,Rufous necked Hornbill, Grey crowned Prinia and the Beautiful Nuthatch all of which breed in Bhutan.
The country is also an important wintering ground for the rare Black necked crane. Greater spotted Eagle, Baer’s Pochard, Imperial Eagle and Hodgson’s Bush chat are also found.
As one of the ten global hotspots Bhutan is all set to preserve and protect the rich environment through environmental organizations.
Some of the proactive organizations are the:
- National Environmental Commission
- Royal society for protection of nature clubs throughout the country
- Department of Forestry Services
- Nature Conservation Department
- Bhutan Trust Fund
- Donor Organization
- Association of Bhutan Tour Operators