Bhutan's pristine forest and mountain ecology sectors can look forward for a major boost with the establishment of a SAARC forestry centre in Bhutan.
The centre will conduct research into mountain ecology, explore new ways of managing forest resources and other related fields, and gather research data from member states to serve as a nodal point of information on forest and
related topics, besides providing policy inputs to member states.
"Local foresters can avail information and data from the centre on its research and the various new approaches to manage the forest and its resources," Centre Director, Sangay Wangchuk, said.
The centre was inaugurated last week by SAARC secretary general Sheel Kant Sharma and Bhutan's Agriculture Minister Pema Gyamtsho.
"I can't think of any appropriate venue for the forestry centre than Bhutan, known world over for the richness of its flora and fauna, and where environmental conservation is one of the pillars of its development philosophy -- gross national happiness," Sharma said.
Initially, the USD 359,118 centre will prepare a database on forestry research, workshops on medicinal plants and identifying projects on carbon sequestration this year.
"After recruiting staff, we'll chalk out projects and studies that we can carry out," said Wangchuk.
"We'll identify and set up research plots in various eco-systems and conduct studies."
Gyamtsho said plans are afoot to set other reserves to ensure that Bhutan continues to remain a biological hotspot. About 26 per cent of the country is protected area.