Bhutan


Basic Information

Official name The Kingdom of Bhutan
Other names in use Bhutan, Druk Gyalkhap, Druk Yul
Area (1) Total: 38,394 sq.km
HKH part: 38,394 sq.km (100%)
Population (estimated, mid 2007) (2) Total: 0.71 million
HKH part: 0.71 million (100%)
Capital city Thimpu
Major cities

Daga, Ha, Mongar, Pajo, Panbang, Paro, Phuntsholing, Shemgang, Tashi, Tashigang, Tongsa, Yangtse

Nationality Bhutanese
Currency Ngultrum
Official languages Dzongkha
National day 17th December
Major holidays
International dialling code 975

Sources: (1) Statistical Year Book of Bhutan, 2007, National Statistics Bureau, Royal Government of Bhutan (2) Population Reference Bureau, 2007 World Population Data Sheet


Major mountain peaks

  • Gangkhar Puensum (7,541 m)
  • Jhomolhari (7,314 m)


Selected international agreements and conventions related to climate and environment

Agreement/Convention Status - Date
Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (Vienna Convention) -1988 Accession - 23 August 2004
Convention on Biological Diversity Signed - 11 June 1992
Ratified - 25 August 1995
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety Accession - 26 August 2002
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Accession - 15 August 2002
Entry into force - 13 November 2002
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention) - 1992 Accession - 26 August 2002
Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa - 1994 Accession - 20 August 2003
Entry into force - 18 November 2003
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture -2001 Signed - 10 June 2002
Rafified - 02 September 2003
International Plant Protection Convention - 1952 Adherence - 20 June 1994
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Signed - 10 December 1982
Male Declaration on Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and its Likely Transboundary Effects for South Asia Endorsed - April 1998
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Signed - 11 June 1992
Ratified - 25 August 1995
Entry into force - 23 November 1995
Kyoto Protocol Accession - 26 August 2002
Entry into force - 16 February 2005


Economy

GDP per capita US $ 1,414 (2006)

Source: Bhutan at a glance 2007, National Statistics Bureau, Royal Government of Bhutan

Major agricultural products
Maize, rice, paddy, potatoes, wheat, millet, apple

Major Industries
Mining, manufacturing, electricity, construction


Geography / Geopolitics
Altitude range
Lowest point: 97 m (Drangme Chhu)
Highest point: 7,541 m (Gangkhar Puensum)

Major agro-climatic zones
MoA/ISNAR (1992) has proposed dividing Bhutan into six-ecological zones (AEZ) based mainly on altitude. These AEZ divisions are used to define the country’s eco-floristic zones and agricultural ecosystems; each zone has a more or less distinct vegetation cover and agricultural practices. The AEZ divisions are alpine, cool temperature, warm temperature, dry sub-tropical, humid sub-tropical and wet sub-tropical. They don’t correlate directly with the division into physiographic regions (the Southern Foothills, Inner Himalayas and High Himalayas) although the division is similar. While such classifications work well in theory there are number of difficulties in trying to use them in practice. The difficulties arise mainly because the terrain can vary greatly in elevation over very short distances so that it is common to find several agro-ecological zones within a few kilometres of each other in the same district.


Climate

The climate varies from a hot subtropical climate in the south to cold alpine slopes in the north. Human settlement is confined mostly to interior river valleys and a strip of southern plains; nomads and other tribes live in the north, raising sheep, cattle and yak.

  • Spring: March-May
  • Summer: June-August
  • Autumn: September-November
  • Winter: December-February


Natural hazards

Violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season


Major environmental issues
Soil erosion; limited access to potable water


Culture

Major ethnic groups
There are three main ethnic groups.

  • Sharchop, largely live in eastern Bhutan, 
  • Ngalop of western Bhutan were people of Tibetan descent who immigrated as early as the fifth century
  • People of Nepalese origin settled in the south of the country toward the end of the nineteenth century

The ethnic division is becoming blurred with increasing intermarriage, migration, and settlements.

Major religions
Buddhism, Hinduism, Bon, Animism, and Shamanism

Major languages
Dzongkha, Tibetan dialects, Nepalese dialects

Focal Ministry/Institution

Ministry of Agriculture and Forests
Royal Government of Bhutan
P.O. Box 252, Taschichhodzong
Thimphu, Bhutan

Dasho Tenzin Dhendup
Secretary
Tel: 975 2 322379, 322129
Direct: 975 2 326735 (office)
Fax: 975 2 326834, 323153