The Himalayas

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A summit on climate change in the Himalaya is emphasizing food security, energy and water security as well as biodiversity here in Thimphu, Bhutan's capitol. Representatives from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan are working on a 10-year plan that will hopefully mitigate dramatic changes now affecting them. 

Glacial lakes are forming rapidly, and threaten to burst at any time as glaciers melt rapidly. In 2008, a major river here flooded, causing severe infrastructure damage in Paro, including a bridge that has yet to be replaced. 

This morning, however, we finally reached a mountain pass that gave us a view of the Himalaya. We also visited a Bhutan National Botanic Garden, which has all 46 species of rhododendron collected and labeled. A lycopodium has fertile fronds sprouting profusely next to the wild strawberries that line the trails. The park is huge, and serves as a wildlife corridor connecting vast protected areas. 

By the way, a forestry employee gave me the latest percentage of  forest cover in this country: 80.8 percent.