Social Forestry Day in Bhutan

I believe that 2011 has been labeled as the International Year of Forests (by whichever global taxpayer funded organisation which spends its time thinking up such initiatives), and this has been taken one step further in Bhutan which celebrated on 2nd July the “Social Forestry Day” in parallel with the celebration of the 4th King’s Coronation.

We marked the occasion at the upcoming Thimphu TechPark by a tree planting along with the Hon Minister Lyonpo Nandalal Rai and other distinguished guests.

Bhutan is a fascinating country in many ways and not least in its approach to preservation of forests. Approximately 72% of the area of Bhutan is covered in forest, and the Constitution stipulates a collar of 65% which must not be breached. However, when one cannot get any timber to fabricate windows for a new house or office building, or this shortage of timber can only be resolved by a lottery for allocation of timber, or it gets smuggled across the border from India and hauled up the Himalayas at great expense (fuel, congestion, time), this brings forth a fascinating discussion on the challenges of balancing environment with economic development. Example – you can see from the photo that while there might be a shortage of timber, there is no shortage of Korean & Japanese SUV’s.

Our landscape plans for the Thimphu Techpark include the planting of 5-700 shrubs and small trees across the five acre site. Reminds me of the fun we had back in 2003(?) with a mega tree planting at Microsoft’s new Campus in Hyderabad. It would be great to see a photo of how all that planting has now turned out – any Microsoft friends out there with a photo to share?

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