Bhutan today has a forest cover of 72 percent of which 51.44 percent of the land area falls under protected areas comprising of 10 national parks and sanctuaries. The Constitution of Bhutan mandates 60 percent forest cover to be maintained for all times to come.
Bhutan is located in a region that provides water for one-fifth of the world’s population. Bhutan also is at the heart of the Eastern Himalayas, which is one of the world’s top ten and most bio-diverse regions. The pristine environment, with high rugged mountains and deep valleys, offers ecosystems that are both rich and diverse. It has been recorded that native wildlife including endangered Royal Bengal Tigers, elusive Snow Leopards, elegant Black Necked Cranes and Elephants, all roam free in the network of protected areas and biological corridors.
Recognizing the importance of the environment, conservation of the environment and its rich biodiversity is one of the four pillars of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Currently, the Royal Government’s development efforts are guided by the strictest environmental ethics foregoing short-term gains while ensuring long-term sustainability.
Bhutan declared to remain carbon neutral at the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition, the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted in September 2015 towards finalization of Paris Agreement further reiterated Bhutan’s pledge to remain carbon neutral. Bhutan is in fact currently carbon negative.