The significance of the environment to Bhutan is explicitly expressed in her development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. The development model recognizes environment as one of its four critical pillars.

Equally important, if not more, is a mention about the environment in the country’s constitution. The supreme law mandates 60% of the country’s total area to be under forest cover at all times.

This means the conservation of the country’s environment is one of the critical and primary national goals. At the moment, Bhutan’s ability to maintain more than 72% of her geography under forest cover is a crystal clear environmental pride. And more than 50% of the total forest is protected as biodiversity corridors.

The environment is preserved at a huge opportunity cost. More than 75% of the population who depends on subsistence farming has just about 6% of arable land to make their livelihood.

The sheer commitment to preserve the environmental heritage supersedes the need for economic growth. Most times, even crucial economic development activities are forgone to take care of the natural environment.

Bhutan’s stringent environment policy makes the country one of the few in which nature and mankind coexist in complete harmony. Most Bhutanese believe nature as abode of God. This shows the degree of their reverence toward it.

Interestingly, otherwise a poor country even turns down some foreign aids if the grants were to force it to compromise its environment principles. Though a small nation, Bhutan is doing all it can to abate climate change which has got a strong correlation with environment degradation.

The country strongly believes that fighting climate change is a collective global responsibility and every nation must do its bit.

Bhutan made a declaration to remain a carbon-neutral country in the 15th UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. The declaration signifies how much the country believes in preserving the natural environment.

The country has been rated one of the world’s top ten biodiversity hot-spots. Today, Bhutan boasts of being home to many endangered flora and fauna species.

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