Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world. But its commitment to conservation is bigger than most. Conservation of the environment is one of the four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness philosophy. As mandated in its constitution, Bhutan preserves (at all times) 60 percent of its land under forest cover. Bhutan has succeeded in doing so. This country is home to the highest percentage – more than 51 percent – of protected land in Asia. Most of it is intact forests interwoven with free-flowing rivers. Evidence of this commitment to conservation is everywhere in Bhutan. Native wildlife—including endangered royal Bengal tigers, elusive snow leopards, elegant black cranes and elephants—all roam free in the country’s 5 million acre network of protected areas.
The people of this Buddhist kingdom can hold on to a fundamental birth right: living out life in a healthy environment. And one of the country’s top industries—ecotourism—is thriving and growing. Providing avenues for farmers to continue to work in rural areas is an approach Bhutan uses to ensure that its best stewards of the land can help protect Bhutan’s natural areas. Read More