Bhutan has a land area of 38,394 sq km bordered by China in the north and India in the east, west and south. The country is not only landlocked, but has one of the most formidable mountainous terrain in the world, ranging from 100 metres to 7,500 metres in height. Currently, about 72 percent of the land area is covered by forests of temperate and sub-tropical species that are a natural habitat of a diversity of flora and fauna.
Bhutan has one of the richest biodiversity in the world with about 3,281 plant species per 10,000 sq km and has been declared as part of one of the ten global biodiversity ‘hotspots’. Bhutan is also endowed with a river system that has an estimated potential to generate 30,000 MW of hydroelectricity. The four major rivers, Amo Chhu, Wang Chhu, Punatsangchhu, Mangde Chhu and the Drangme Chhu and their tributaries have carved fertile valleys in central and western parts of the country, and provide irrigation to the southern and eastern plains before flowing into the Brahmaputra river basin.
The steep and unstable terrain and the relatively young mountain system has however, made the country ecologically fragile. Agricultural production is also severely constrained, as only around 16 percent of the land area is cultivable. Administratively, Bhutan is divided into 20 Dzongkhags (Districts) and geographically it is divided into four regions; eastern, western, central and southern region. The people in the eastern, central and western regions are Buddhist while the people in southern Bhutan, who are mostly of Nepalese origin are largely Hindus.
Bhutan has three distinct climatic zones corresponding broadly to the three geographical divisions – hot and humid Southern belt, cool temperate central zone, and alpine Northern region.
Key Natural Resources:
- Minerals: Dolomite, Limestone, Gypsum, Slate, Coal, Talc, Marble,
Zinc, Lead, Copper, Tungsten, Quartzite
- Crops: Rice, Maize, Wheat, Potato, Millet, Buckwheat, Orange, Apple,
- Hydro-Power Potential of 30,000 MW