December 1, 2022
By Kinga Wangdi
The Million-Tree Program was launched in Thimphu, Bhutan in April, 2021. The program aims to promote ecological diversity through the restoration of over 3,000 acres of degraded forest and the rehabilitation of 2,000 acres of fallow farmland. To enhance the economic productivity of this uncultivated land, the plantation program was initiated in select locations across the country, engaging volunteers and other local partners.
In 2022, as part of this program, the Bhutan Foundation and its partner, the Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), supported the planting of 86,300 wild trees in government lands and 33,000 fruit trees in 40 gewogs (counties) spread across ten districts.
Due to its location in a fragile mountain ecosystem and the adverse effects of climate change, Bhutan is vulnerable. The ecologically productive landscapes created by the program will significantly increase biodiversity and help buffer the effects of extreme climate events such as landslides, flash floods, windstorms, and forest fires, among others. The Million-Tree Program will complement the Royal Government’s efforts to fulfill the constitutional mandates of maintaining at least 60 percent forest coverage at all times, along with increasing the carbon storage capacity of our forests to keep Bhutan on its carbon-negative trajectory.
Over the next three years, the Bhutan Foundation will continue to support our partner, the Bhutan Ecological Society, to plant a total of one million trees across the country. The Million-Tree Program aims to improve the livelihoods of the participating communities while nurturing the broader ecosystem. It will also promote the use of farmlands and government land in collaboration with partners, such as local governments, the Department of Forest and Park Services, volunteers, and individual landowners.