Another hallmark in Bhutan’s conservation efforts


The minister for Agriculture & Forests Yeshey Penjor graced the launch of National Interpretation for the Identification of High Conservation Values by WWF Bhutan last week ( Pic : WWF Bhutan)

This initiative will prioritize important conservation livelihood difficulties like human-wildlife conflict and water-related issues

STAFF REPORTER

Thimphu

The WWF in Bhutan launched the national interpretation for identification of High Conservation Value (HCV) in Bhutan as a component of the continuing living landscapes project “safeguarding HCV in the south-western region of Bhutan” on 5 August this week.

According to WWF Bhutan, the document will act as a guide for locating HCVs in the nation.

Gender mainstreaming guidelines for Divisional Forest Offices (DFO’s) were also introduced in conjunction with World Ranger’s Day.

To achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, the directive is anticipated to help DFO’s in the nine districts on how to include gender concerns into the management plan.

The project aims to secure HCVs in the south-western Bhutan to promote long-term conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to help contribute to sustainable development of the nation. The idea of HCVs would be included into the national framework for planning land use through this project.

The objective of the project is to integrate the approach of HCVs into the national land use and planning systems to ensure conservation of HCVs in areas without legal protection.

In addition, it will help to ensure sustainable management of natural resources based on scientific management principles in areas outside the protected areas network system by developing integrated climate-smart management plans for the nine DFO’s in the project landscape.

By 2028, at least nine High Conservation Value Areas (HCVAs) are expected to be integrated under the management’s regime.

Furthermore, by 2028 the population of indicator species in the project landscapes will be secured, and by 2028 the average annual household income of the target communities would have increased by 60 percent.

Meanwhile, the core approach of this project is securing HCVs in the south-western regions and its integration into the national land use planning system.

According to WWF Bhutan the HCVs concept is expected to be incorporated into Bhutan’s national land use zoning standards and the national land use policy by the project’s end.

In addition, to ensure long-term biodiversity and ecosystem services conservation, at least nine HCVAs will be developed and managed in the nine projected districts in south-western Bhutan.

The project also intends to improve the standard of living and increase household income for the target communities in the project landscapes using the concept of HCVs.

This initiative will prioritise important conservation including livelihood difficulties like human – wildlife conflict and water related issues, among others.

The Living Landscape: Securing HCVs in South-Western Bhutan project is focused on nine dzongkhags in the region, including Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Samtse, Chukha, Dagana, Tsirang, Sarpang, and Zhemgang. It has a combined area of 9967.45 km2 (996,745 ha), outside of protected areas and biological corridors.

These places are home to majestic species like the Royal Bengal Tiger, elephant, red panda, and hornbills, as well as a plethora of other faunal species. Additionally, it has been discovered that these project’s landscapes are some of the hotspots for HWC and are vulnerable to other pressures, including illegal activities and forest fires.

IN the meantime, WWF Bhutan, Tarayana Foundation (National Civil Society Organization), which specializes in rural community livelihood projects and programs, and the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS), and the National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) are working together on this project.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) and the Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat (GNHCS) are the other partners. Their roles will be to provide strategic, programmatic, and policy interventions.

The project will be implemented by the International Climate Initiative’s DoFPS, NLCS, Tarayana Foundation, WWF Bhutan, and (IKI).