Environment

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Within an area of 38,394 square kilometers, Bhutan enjoys a great ecological diversity. Its total land area is spread roughly over 170 km north to south, and approximately 300 km east to west. Altitude varies from below 200 meters in the southern tropical region to over 7500 meters above sea level in the northern alpine region. Forest is Bhutan’s largest renewable resource and the most dominant land cover measuring 72.5 percent of the country’s landmass.

Bhutan’s biodiversity wealth includes 5,603 species of vascular plants including 579 wild orchids, 46 rhododendrons, over 300 medicinal plants and at least 30 bamboo species. Bhutan also has close to 200 species of mammals including the Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris), Snow Leopard (Unicia uncia), Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens), Takin, (Budorcas taxicolor), Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei), Asiatic Elephant (Elephus maximus), and the Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster leucogaster). Bhutan also has 678 recorded species of birds.

To protect the country’s natural environment from over-exploitation in the future, the Constitution of Bhutan states that 60% of the country should be preserved under natural forest cover for all times to come. Today more than 50% of the country falls under national parks and protected areas with limited or no human activities.