13 April 2021, Kabisa, Thimphu
The Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), in partnership with the Bhutan Foundation, launched the Million Trees Project today in Kabisa, Thimphu. The project is aimed at promoting ecologically fecund and economically productive landscapes which can also serve as community carbon banks in the long run. Over the next 5 years, by cultivating high value trees in lands that have been left fallow, the Million Trees Project will help improve livelihoods of communities while nurturing the environment.
Bhutan’s available arable land is a paltry 3.7% of its total land cover. Of this, due to human wildlife conflict, lack of adequate water supply and access to markets, an estimated 29% (~54600 acres) currently remains fallow. Proper utilization is further compromised by climate change related events, such as untimely rainfall and increasing incidences of pests and diseases.
Planting an average of about 200 to 300 trees per acre, the project will nurture over a million high value tree crops across Bhutan. This will generate annual and long-term income for rural farmers and serve as community carbon banks. Ecologically productive landscapes will also significantly add to biodiversity and help buffer the impacts of climate change.
The launch of the Million Trees Project was graced by HRH Ashi Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the Royal Patron of BES, along with Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, Minister for Agriculture and Forests. In collaboration with the local government officials of the gewog, around 200 fruit trees were planted/distributed Kabisa, Thimphu. Another 3000 trees were distributed in Zhemgang, Tsirang and Trongsa as a part of the launch.