Coordination and consultation meeting of officials from the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) on June 20 in Thimphu recognised the need to strengthen plantation initiatives against the backdrop of increasing development activities across the country.   

Chief forestry officer with Social Forestry and Extension Division (SFED), Pasang W Norbu, said that development activities in areas of plantation needed to be prevented. “Proponents must be informed at initial stage about the clearance so that they don’t waste resources to install transmission lines.”   

He said that these plantations were fixed deposit and that all necessary steps should be taken to ensure that plantations are not affected. “When some plantations in a park and six territorial divisions were monitored, it was found that the survival rate was discouraging.”  

Director of DoFPS, Phento Tshering, said that maintaining journals with details about plantation such as dates of plantation, GPS coordinates and expenditure incurred could help keep records even when officials concerned get transferred. “A standard format for maintaining journal could be developed.”

He said that other ways could be explored and suggested to the people to prevent development activities in plantation areas. “Officials must focus themselves in engaging in plantation works so that they learn about technical and scientific aspects and not just in terms of monitoring and inspection. It could be helpful in future.”

Although efforts are being made to maintain plantations along the roadside, Pasang W Norbu, said that stakeholders such as thromde needs to be consulted for future plans as plantations are affected with new plans of development.

He said that roadside plantations also had issues such as poor survival mainly because of watering problem and poor soil condition in the area.

Phento Tshering said that the SFED should work on the minimum number of seedlings at any given time for the supply when it came to the distribution of the nursery for plantation. “Nursery needs to be maintained so that we can encourage people for plantation by providing them with seedlings. It must however be done in the scientific manner and be economically viable.”

He said that nursery must have balance of commercial species with other species used in landscape development, compensation for human wildlife conflict.

Seedlings from the nursery are usually provided to schools, the armed forces and to Green Bhutan Corporation Limited. 

Rinchen Zangmo