Forests are integral and indispensable parts of our lives and even more so for us Bhutanese who have relied on forests since time immemorial. The Land Cover Atlas of Bhutan 2011 shows that 80.89% of the total land cover constitutes forest including 70.46% tree cover and another 10.43% of shrubs.
Today, our forests are under tremendous pressure from human population, urban sprawl and forest fires, which lead to their deforestation and degradation. We have lost about 47,501 acres of forests in 239 incidences of forest fires, and 38,577 acres of forest area to farm roads construction and power transmission lines among others in the last five years. When forests are lost or severally degraded, their capacity to function as regulator of climate, soil, water and air is either diminished or lost. We have also seen that Human Wildlife Conflict is on the rise over the years due to increasing anthropogenic pressure on natural resources, thus driving wild animals from their forest habitat into agricultural land. Therefore, maintaining good forest cover is crucial for the Bhutanese economy as well as for a healthy ecosystem goods and services.
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