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Himalayan Forests, Watersheds, & Rural Livelihoods

Bhutan

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Where Gross National Happiness is the Measure for Development

In early 2008, Bhutan’s government shifted from a monarchy to a constitutional democracy, opening the door for devolution of authority over natural resources to regional governments and communities. Since the majority of Bhutanese reside in rural areas, sustainable management of natural resources is critical for achieving the dual goals of poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. In conjunction with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment, an international research and training facility in Bhutan, SFS students and faculty will help advance its research agenda in several priority areas, including community forestry, human-wildlife conflict, and watershed assessment.

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  • Summer Programs

    Himalayan Forests, Watersheds, & Rural Livelihoods

    Bhutan

    Bhutan is nestled in the remote and rugged eastern Himalayan region, an area characterized by extensive and numerous mountains and valleys, the world’s highest peaks, and a diversity of vegetation types and unique animal species. The country has also been identified as one of the top-10 biodiversity hot spots in the world. Bhutan is home to an estimated 770 species of birds and an astonishing variety of medicinal plants and orchids. Takin, snow leopards, golden langurs, blue sheep, tigers, water buffalo, and elephants are among Bhutan’s diverse wildlife. Traveling across Bhutan, students will learn about Bhutanese culture, environmental issues, and rural development.

Information on SFS Bhutan and a Five Year Research Plan is coming soon...



Having only recently opened its borders to more tourism, the Kingdom of Bhutan is one of SFS’ newest locations. In this endeavor, SFS is partnered with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE), an international research and training center.

Students spend a significant amount of time learning about and respecting the intricate relationship between nature and Buddhism. By attending festivals, engaging in community service, and participating in local sporting events, students further enhance their cultural understanding as well as becoming active members of the community. Additionally, SFS students and the Bhutanese trainees at UWICE have a lot of opportunity to interact.

With the wealth of expertise at the Institute, students are able to learn from many guest lecturers. The partnership between UWICE and SFS will help the institute advance its research agenda in several priority areas, including community and private forest management, watershed integrity, provision of freshwater in rural areas, and aquatic biodiversity. The sharing of research data and information takes place through community meetings, technical presentations, a research symposium, and presentations to government officials.