Bhutan is perhaps one of the few countries in the world that has always prized its natural environment and protected it long before the world started making a clamour over its widespread exploitation and destruction.
This priority to preserve the natural environment is enshrined in Bhutan’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, with one of the four pillars being preservation of the environment.
Today, more than 70 percent of the country is covered in forests within which thrive an astounding diversity of flora and fauna and untouched eco systems.
This respect for the natural world comes from the Buddhist understanding of the interdependence between man and nature. Mountain climbing is not allowed because Bhutanese believe it is abode of gods and lakes and water bodies are not to be polluted because deities reside in them.
Bhutan’s Constitution explicitly states that the country must maintain a forest cover of a minimum of 60 percent for all times to come.
More than 26 percent of the country is made up of national parks and protected areas that are linked through biological corridors to allow the undisturbed movement of wild animals from one area to the next.
Bhutan’s commitment to preserve the natural environment is so strong that it often comes in conflict with development plans such as building roads and infrastructure.
At the 15th UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, Bhutan declared that it would remain a carbon-neutral country.
The commitment to protecting the environment has resulted in a natural paradise with clean fresh mountain air, crystal clear mountain streams and dense untouched forests that are home to an amazing variety of birds, plants and animals.
This is the reason why Bhutan been identified as one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots.