To encourage and provide a platform for researchers in their effort to save the earth, Bhutan Ecological Society’s (BES) fifth edition of the symposium began in Thimphu yesterday.

Besides an opportunity to share researches, participants will also have opportunities to network with experts at the event.

BES patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck at the inaugural event yesterday said that in the modern technological world, it was important for everyone to stay connected to the roots and surroundings of which ecology and environment were the most important.

Early in Bhutan’s development, His Majesty The Fourth King made conscious efforts to protect the environment against the mounting pressures of development on the fragile ecosystem, she said. “Because of that, today we have more forest cover than we had 60 years ago with a wide variety of flora and fauna.”

Her Royal Highness said that nature and natural heritage of the country was an invaluable asset, one that the people needed to nurture and make use of intelligently. “The annual symposium and environment fair is one such effort to enhance our understanding of the value of nature and showcase emerging possibilities.”

Solutions to tackle environmental issue will also be showcased, she said. “It is my wish to see the platform grow into a gathering of thoughtful leaders and practitioners to discuss ideas, bridge the gap between business and conservation, economic growth and environmental progress, use of natural resources and its regrowth.”

The event also saw the fourth edition of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Outstanding Environmental Stewardship Award conferred to late Sangay Wangchuk (PhD). Late Sangay Wangchuk served in the Department of Forest and Park Services for over 40 years, during which he also served as the head of the Nature Conservation Division.

He was instrumental in establishing the current system of protected areas in the country. He was also involved in laying and overseeing the design and designation of natural biological corridors.

He had mentored a generation of conservationists and was highly regarded in the field.

The award recognises individuals, groups or institutions for lifetime contribution towards the security and sustainability of the environment, particularly those who have gone beyond the call of duty in their service.

The BES journal and a report on enabling an energy efficient built environment in Bhutan were also launched.

The annual symposium will see the launch of Bhutan Lectures on Innovation, Science and Society (BLISS) today.

The two-day symposium involves the presentation of close to 23 researches. A total of about 11 stalls were set up at the event.

Rinchen Zangmo