An improved version of the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal (www.biodiversity.bt) integrated with aquatic biodiversity was launched on 15th March 2018. The improved new features were developed by Strand Life Sciences, India and National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) with funding support from the World Bank and WWF-Bhutan program. The new features of the portal were demonstrated to the participants, where portal now has capacity to accommodate huge datasets online. Data on the aquatic biodiversity of Bhutan is made available through the Portal targeting to benefit especially the Hydro-power sectors in the country while conducting environmental assessments. However, there is need to conduct more surveys and researches on the aquatic biodiversity in the river systems, since most of the aquatic biodiversity groups are understudied. Thus, the online repository on the portal is expected to strengthen the knowledge-base on the aquatic biodiversity of Bhutan.
The main aim of improving portal is to create and maintain a common online data repository (database) for aquatic biodiversity data to ensure the long-term integrity of the Bhutan’s river ecosystems and the sustainability of their services in the context of the country’s economic development. Aquatic biodiversity data has been audited last year among various stakeholders such as National Environment Commission, DGPC, Hydro-power department, WWF-Bhutan, Department of Forests and Park Services, National Research Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries (Haa), Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research, College of Natural Resources, and Tourism Council of Bhutan.
Aquatic biodiversity data assessed includes taxonomic groups such as fishes, dragonflies, shrimps, molluscs, etc. With the availability of most of the existing data on the portal, it is hoped that these data will contribute towards developing effective plans and conducting environmental assessments by the hydro-power planners, and the consultants.
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