Flora and Fauna

Bhutan’s forest are divided into the Alpine Zone (4000m and above) where there is no forest cover, the Temperate Zone falling between 2000 to 4000m with conifer or broadleaf forests, and the Subtropical Zone with Tropical or Subtropical vegetation from an elevation of 95m to 2000m. Forest types include Fir Forests, Mixed Conifer Forest; Blue Pine Forest Chirpine Forest, Broadleaf mixed with Conifer, Upland Hardwood Forest, Lowland Hardwood Forest, and Tropical Lowland Forests.

Of the 5,500 known species of vascular plants, many are endemic to Bhutan itself. Three ecological units may be distinguished within Bhutan: High – altitude, temperate, and tropical. Snow leopard, blue sheep, red panda, tiger, takin , marmot, and musk deer are some of the species found in the high altitudes. Temperate zone fauna include tiger, leopard, goral, serow, grey langur, macaques, Himalayan black bear, red panda, squirrels, sambar, wild pig, and barking deer. The tropical forests in the south have tiger, clouded leopard, elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, water buffalo, golden langur; gaur, swamp deer, hog deer, pygmy hog, hispid hare, piliated langur, sloth bear, and hornbills.

The endangered Black Necked Cranes also migrate to Bhutan from Central Asia during the winter. The country has been identified as one of the 10 bio-diversity hot spots in the world and as one of the 221 global endemic bird areas. Bhutan also has a great variety of bird species. It is recognized as an area of high biological diversity and is known as the East Himalayan ‘hot spot’ situated as it is at the hub of 221 global endemic bird areas.

The recorded number of bird species is over 670 and there are chances that this number could still go up. Bhutan is also home to about 16 bird species that are endangered worldwide. These include the White bellied heron, Pallas Fish eagle, Blyth’s King fisher to name a few. Phobjikha valley in Wangdue Phodrang and Bomdeling in Trashi Yangtse are also two important places in Bhutan that is visited by the endangered Black Necked Crane.

Bhutan boasts of about 300 species of medicinal plants and about 46 species of rhododendrons. Some common sights for the visitors are the magnolias, junipers, orchids of varied hues, gentian, medicinal plants, daphne, giant rhubarb, the blue poppy which is the national flower and tropical trees such as pine and oaks.