Developing ecosystem-based solutions for managing biodiversity landscape in Bhutan

The White-bellied Heron (WBH) is a critically endangered species and is no longer sighted in many of its traditional home ranges in the Eastern Himalayas. Bhutan’s WBH habitats located in the river basins of the Punatsangchhu and Mangdechhu are degraded and threatened by on-going large hydropower-plant construction and other development activities. Building on ecosystem-based solutions, appropriate conservation approaches and measures will be introduced and established through the project to restore and conserve the WBH landscape. Through increased community engagement and the establishment of ecosystem-based livelihood adaptation options, ecosystem services within the WBH landscape and the livelihoods of the local community will be improved. The knowledge and experience gained from the project in ecosystem-based and community-based conservation and adaptation will be shared for application to other landscapes in Bhutan and similar areas in other Himalayan countries.

Project data

IKI funding
3,687,239.00 €
07/2021 till 06/2026
Implementing organisation
Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) Bhutan
Political Partner
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL) - Bhutan
  • Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR) (Bhutan)
  • Ministry of Finance - Bhutan

State of implementation/results

  • Training of enumerators for ESRAM Assessment took place from 16/09/2021 to 17/09/2021 (…).-- ESRAM Technical report, the Biodiversity assessment report and the ESRAM Study Protocols are finalised and publication.
  • Project Inception Meeting at national stakeholder level in order to inform and enhance stakeholder coordination took place on 02/09/2021 (… content/uploads/2021/11/Inception-Meeting-Report_2021.pdf ). The inception event was covered by the national print media ( Kuensel) and by Bhutan Broadcasting Service, the national broadcast media house (…,…).
  • Restoration of degraded areas within the White Bellied Heron habitats to an area of 17 hectares.
  • Seven community-based nursery sites established in five districts (Punakha, Tsirang, Dagana, Trongsa, Zhemgang).
  • Ten community-based Human-Wildlife Conflict Management and Crop Compensation groups established in the project landscape.
  • Four nature trails with basic amenities were developed within the WBH landscape.
  • Homestay management training conducted with 66 community participants (34 female and 32 male).
  • Training of trainers (ToT) program on post-harvest, pest and disease control management and food processing to the agriculture extension officers sites organized.
  • Training on plantation, harvesting technique of crops, soil and pest management, organic farming with 418 community participants (176 male and 242 female) completed. – Development of Crop Compensation Schemes for 17 human-wildlife conflict (HWC) groups (14 male and 3 female) from four HWC sites.
  • Identification of 12 sites for cconstruction of drinking water infrastructure. – Implementation of a nest and population surveys of the White Bellied Heron (WBH) and its habitat in collaboration with Department of Forest and Park Service and the Local Conservation Support Groups: 27 individuals of WBH were recorded in the country and three WBH nesting sites were discovered.
  • Drafting of WBH habitat restoration guideline ongoing in collaboration with Department of Forest and Park Services, Hydropower and Green Bhutan Corporation.

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