26 degrees 45'N and 28 degrees 10'N latitudes,
and 88 degrees 45' E and 92 degrees 10' E longitudes. The
country stretches 150km from north to south, and 300 km from west to east.
The terrain is highly rugged. It rises from an elevation of 100 meters
above sea level in the south, to over 7,550 m in the north.
Border countries: Tibetan autonomous region of
China to the north, and India to the west, south and east.
Bhutan can be divided into three major areas: the southern foothills,
inner Himalayas and higher Himalayas. The southern foothills rise from
the tropical plains to a height of 1,500 m but are only about 20 kms wide.
The inner Himalayas gradually rise to about 3,000m and contain the broad
river valleys of central Bhutan, the economic and cultural heartland of
the country. The northern region comprises the main Himalayan range of
the high mountains and alpine vegetation where the population is sparse.
There are three distinct climatic zones corresponding broadly to the main
geographical divisions of the country.
- Southern belt: hot, humid climate. Temperatures
are fairly even throughout the year between 15 degrees Celsius and 30
degrees Celsius. Rainfall ranges between 2,500 and 5,000 millimeters.
- Central Himalayas: Cool, temperate climate with
annual average rainfall of about 1,000 mm
- Northern region: alpine climate with annual rainfall
of around 400 mm.
The climate and rainfall vary dramatically from one
valley to another with consequent changes in the composition of agricultural
Bhutan is situated in one of the ten global hotspots for biodiversity.
It's rich flora, fauna and forest and water resources make it one of the
best living examples of the Himalayan eco-system.
Flora & Fauna: Over 5,000 species of plants of which more than 750
are endemic to the Eastern Himalayas.The large forest cover is home to
a number of rare animals including the golden langur, takin, blue sheep.160
mammals. Tiger, leopard, red panda, wild boar, musk deer are some of the
animals found in Bhutan.178 species of mammal which includes 24 internationally
threatened species and more than 119 species of birds in the kingdom.
Forest: Bhutan has more than 72 per cent forest cover. Total forest areas
estimated at 2.9 million hectares. Various types are broadleaf forest
(50%), conifer forest (38%), scrub forest (12%).
Water resources: Water resources are abundant in Bhutan because of high
precipitation and altitudinal variation. Bhutan's rivers have an estimated
potential to generate 30,000MW of electricity.
Minerals: The exact magnitude of Bhutan's mineral resources is unknown
as only 30% of the country is mapped geographically. There are deposits
of coal, limestone, dolomite, marble, gypsum, slate, zinc, lead, copper,
tungsten and quartzite deposits.
The process of development is posing challenges
to Bhutan's state of the environment. Urban migration, changing land use,
population growth, and increasing pollution are threatening Bhutan's ability
to maintain a sustainable approach to development.
Land Use (source: Land Use Planning, Agriculture Ministry, 2002)
Arable land: 8 %
Horticulture: less than 1 %
Agriculture: 7.7 %
Pasture: 428,000 acres 3.9 %
Forest: 72.5 %
Other: 7 %
Total land area for cropping = approx. 240,500 acres (wetland, dryland,
tseri, pangshing, kitchen garden)
Orchards = 21,000 acres
1. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Convention signed June 11, 1992
Instrument of Ratification signed August 25, 1995
2. Un Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention signed June 11, 1992
Instrument of Ratification signed on August 25, 1995.
3. International Plant Protection Convention (Adherence) Came into force
for Bhutan on June 20, 1994