Bhutan is endowed with a natural environment that has been dubbed as the ‘crown jewel’ of the Eastern Himalayas. This region has been recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot with natural habitat ranging from the subtropical broadleaf forests and grasslands through temperate mountain forests to alpine meadows to the mountainous regions. Though rapid socio-economic development has occurred, safeguards to the environment have been carried out through sound policies and stringent laws emphasized by the religious sentiments of the people.
Conservation of environment is an integral part of our development strategy, environment being one of the four pillars of GNH, to ensure that socio-economic development efforts are not at the cost of our natural environment. The Constitution mandates that at least 60 percent of the country is maintained under forest cover at all times, and as a result of vast forest cover and limited number of polluting industries, Bhutan is among the few countries in the world with net greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in negative. Furthermore, in December 2009 during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the Royal Government of Bhutan issued a declaration entitled “Declaration of the Kingdom of Bhutan – The Land of Gross National Happiness to Save our Planet” wherein the government committed to maintain Bhutan’s status as a net sink for Green House Gasses by ensuring that greenhouse gas emission levels do not exceed the sequestration capacity of its forests.