Living Landscapes - Securing ecological connectivity of high conservation value areas in Bhutan

In southwestern Bhutan special biodiversity and ecosystem services worthy of protection exist (High Conservation Value Areas), which are, however, without any formal protection status. For their long-term protection at national, regional and local level, they should be considered as an integral part of comprehensive land use planning as well as in management plans of the District Forestry Offices. In addition to building up knowledge and capacities within the forest administrations, the project also provides them with technical equipment to monitor and implement the management plans. It also supports local communities in reducing human-wildlife-conflicts, securing water resources and developing business plans to generate additional income. The development of guidelines, pilot projects and the exchange of experience between districts and authorities are intended to enable multiplier effects in other landscapes and districts.

Project data

IKI funding
8,873,998.00 €
Included preparation phase
110,840.00 €
04/2020 till 03/2028
Implementing organisation
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Germany
Political Partner
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forests - Bhutan
  • Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR) (Bhutan)
  • Ministry of Finance - Bhutan
  • National Land Commission (NLC) - Bhutan
Implementing Partner
  • Tarayana Foundation (TF)
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Bhutan

State of implementation/results

  • Securing High Conservation Values (HCV):
    • An HCV Screening was conducted following the HCV National Interpretation with technical support from the HCV Network. HCV screening results were endorsed by the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) and submitted to the National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) for inclusion into National Land Use Zoning. Draft Operational Guidance for HCV Management and Monitoring are available (…).
  • National Land Use Zoning:
    • The project is supporting National Land Use Zoning (NLUZ) and Land Use Land Cover (LULC) work undertaken by NLCS in which HCV is integrated and mainstreamed for national land use planning in future. The LULC report was published (……), the NLUZ report will be published in Sept. 2023.
  • Biodiversity Survey for Development of DFO Management Plan:
    • As a prerequisite for developing a management plan, a Rapid Biodiversity Survey was conducted in 9 Divisional Forest Offices covering 3,168 km2. The survey was undertaken by 137 foresters covering 198 survey grids. Survey report to be published by Nov. 2023.
    • Tarayana Foundation prepared a report on invasive plant species in the project region together with the National Centre for Biodiversity (NBC) and the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and after interviewing farmers. Publication of the study (…) and based on it, implementation of trainings in the communities to identify and remove invasive species.
  • Nursery and Botanical Garden:
    • The project supported the enhancement of Bermu Botanical Garden in Zhemgang through improvement of its orchidarium, propagation of orchids, landscaping, and improving signages.
    • Establishment of a tree nursery at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER). The nursery serves not only to raise seedlings, but also as a demonstration and training facility for prospective foresters at UWICER. In addition, nurseries were establishes in the five forest offices Tsirang, Dagana, Samtse, Gedu and Paro.
  • Livelihood Improvement:
    • Completion of ecotourism facilities in 5 DFOs (Dagana, Gedu, Samtse, Sarpang, Zhemgang), which included development and maintenance of eco-trails, construction of visitor amenities and installation of signages. It is expected to benefit at least 21,740 people in the project landscape (……).
    • An initial analysis for potential small business models for five products that can be derived from the forest and surrounding ecosystems was prepared (dyes, medicinal plants, bamboo, nettle, daphne).
    • A study on the conservation and application of local and traditional knowledge has been completed, which also addresses key issues for the project, such as the management of human-wildlife conflicts, water management measures, and adaptation to climate change.
  • Capacity Building of Project Partners and Beneficiaries:
    • Two Advanced Drone Operation Trainings were conducted for NLCS and DoFPS. A total of 31 (4 female) officials from DoFPS and 13 (2 female) from NLCS were trained on surveying, mapping, and surveillance using drones including basic maintenance and data analysis. A Forest Nursery Management Training was provided to 16 participants (5 female) from DoFPS on both theoretical knowledge and practical techniques for forest nursery management (…). 31 officials from Tarayana Foundation were trained on human wildlife conflict management using Safe System Approach and indigenous knowledge management. A total of 235 (72 female) local communities each representing a household were trained on management of Non-wood Forest Products and Community Forests.
  • Securing Water Resources:
    • Based on the springshed assessment report published earlier, Tarayana worked on springshed management and improving water supplies in 3 locations in Haa, Samtse and Thimphu directly benefitting close to 130 households. Interventions include improving spring recharge areas, installing rainwater harvesting facilities, developing water filtration and storage facilities, and improving water distribution (…). A total of 27 Water User Groups were formed to strengthen water management at community level to benefit 665 households and three schools, benefiting 4,450 people. In addition, 863 (447 female) locals were consulted for implementing springshed management interventions in the project landscape.

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