Nowhere in the Himalayas is the natural heritage more rich & varied than in Bhutan. In historical records, the Kingdom was called the ‘Valley of Medicinal Herbs’, a name that still applies to this day. About 72.5 per cent of the country’s area is under forest cover.
For centuries, the Bhutanese have treasured the natural environment & have looked upon it as the source of all life. This traditional reverence for nature has delivered Bhutan into the 20th century with an environment still richly intact. The country wishes to continue living in harmony with nature & to pass on this rich heritage to its future generations.
Fortunately for Bhutan, maintaining a balanced natural ecosystem remains the central theme of its development process. The country’s development policies disregard sacrificing its natural resource base for short term economic gains & are consistent with the central tenets of sustainable development, environmental conservation & cultural values.
In 1998, Bhutan was identified as one of the ten bio-diversity hot spots in the world. It has been identified as the centre of 221 global endemic bird areas. The country signed the Convention on Biological Diversity & United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. These conventions were ratified in 1995 at the 73rd session of the National Assembly. The Royal Government of Bhutan has also made a national commitment to uphold its obligation to future generations by charting a path of development called the “Middle Path” – this is the development which upholds both environmental & cultural preservation as an integral part of the development process.