With over 70 percent of the country under forest cover and it's rich bio-diversity, Bhutan has been declared one of the 10 environmental "hot-spots" in the world. Among the Himalayan Nations, Bhutan has the richest diversity of Flora and Fauna made possible by the ecological sensitivity of the Bhutanese People and preserved by the policies of a concerned government.
The immense beauty of the Himalayas is contained in its diverse landscape. Cascading rivers, conifers, wild rhododendron and blue poppies, long sweeping valleys, fields of maize and tall, imposing white-capped peaks: these are only a few poetic references.
The wealth of the floral variety includes "Rhododendron, Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Edelweiss, Gentians, Daphne. In addition, the rare Blue Poppy, Bhutan's national flower, which can be found at altitudes as high as 4000 metres. Along with these, grow rare medicinal herbs and exotic mushrooms.
Spotting unusual fauna in Bhutan is almost obligatory. There are over 500 species of Birds to be seen in Bhutan. The rich bird life includes the Monal, Pheasant, the Tragopan, many different types of wild pigeons and Doves, the rare Rufus-necked Hornbill and the endangered Black Necked Crane. There is also an abundant butterfly fauna. This reflects the kingdom's wide range of agro-ecological environments, from subtropical to alpine, and its zoo-geographical Indomalayan (oriental) region and the permeable and fluid (for birds) border with China.
The Kingdom is home to a very rich mammalian wildlife population; there are 165 species of mammals. From the Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, Takin and Himalayan Black beer in the North to the Tiger, Rhinoceros, Gaur, the Great Indian Water Buffalo and the Golden langur in the South.
Brown Trout and local fish are found in the Northern Rivers and mountain lakes. Further to the South East, the rivers are full of elusive Mahseer.
Throughout the centuries, the Bhutanese have treasured their natural environment and have looked upon it as the source of all life. The traditional reverence for nature has delivered us into the 20th century with our environment still richly intact.
In Bhutan the vegetation profile falls into five general classes:
- Tropical [up to 1,000m]
- Sub-tropical [900m - 1,800m]
- Temperate [1,800m - 3,500m]
- Sub-alpine [3,500m - 4,500m]
- Alpine [4,500m - 5,500m]