Sherab Lhamo

Although rangeland (tsamdro) covers 12 percent of the country’s total area, supporting the livelihoods of 1,039 highland and 263 lowland households, stakeholders are grappling with complex issues related to policy and institutional gaps.

To address such issues, officials from the related agencies are attending the three-day workshop in Paro that ends today. 

Rangeland covers 1.3 million acres of land in Bhutan, providing varieties of benefits such as livestock fodder, water resources, and biodiversity.

Specialist with the Department of Livestock (DoL), Jigme Wangdi, said that rangelands are under increasing pressure from climate change, unsustainable use, and land use changes, leading to adverse impact on the environment, livelihoods, and food security.

Currently, inadequate support from the government, absence of dedicated institutions to streamline management, insufficient data and information, and absence of specialised experts on rangeland are some of the major challenges facing the rangeland management.

According to Director General Wu Ning at the Chengdu Institute of Biology in China, policy making should engage different stakeholders including the local communities for a shared input. 

Most policies developed without consultation with the local pastoral communities often fail, he added.

DoL chief livestock officer, Towchu Rabgay said that lack of effective policies and institutions is a major barrier to sustainable rangeland management. “It is important to identify the policy and institutional gaps in order to develop more effective solutions to the challenges facing rangelands.”

In the future, Jigme Wangdi said that there needs to be a dedicated agency to coordinate and implement rangeland activities, train and develop a pool of rangeland experts through short-and-long term investment in human resources, and develop policy and management, among others. 

The workshop is jointly organised by the DoL, National Land Commission Secretariat, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development saw 40 participants.