Flowerbeds around the roads of Thimphu thromde change with the season.

This is part of Thimphu thromde’s beautification works that include plantation of flowers on roundabouts, plantation of trees in empty areas, managing nursery for production of saplings, and developing and upgrading playgrounds and parks within the city.

Thimphu thromde’s senior forestry officer, Shera Doelkar said that to inculcate a sense of ownership and love for forest among youth, thromde also involves school students to plant trees every year.

Thromde also launched ‘My Tree Programme’ in 2012 to increase tree cover outside the forested areas.

The programme encourages students to plant a tree and to nurture it until they pass out from the school. “The survival rates of the trees are also monitored annually. Three best schools are awarded cash prizes to motivate the students,” Shera Doelkar said.

In the beautification effort, thromde also manages the existing recreational parks such as the Coronation Park, Thai Pavilion, Motithang Ozone Park and Thimphu Ecological Park.

Thromde is partnering with other organisations for the maintenance of the parks. Thromde has handed over Thimphu Ecological Park to Bhutan Youth Development Fund on January 8 this year, and Coronation Park to Care Bhutan on January 3 last year.

Thromde is also creating micro-gardens where different agencies, organisations and private companies can adopt empty government land near their surroundings. Micro-garden is a practice of growing plants in small urban spaces.

Shera Doelkar said that with rapid development taking place in the city, it is important that development activities harmonise with nature. “Knowing and valuing the tangible services provided by the urban forest, it is clear that there is much to be gained in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits and the real, computable, and inevitable costs if investment is not made to maintain it.”

She said that being the capital, it is important to make Thimphu attractive, vibrant and beautiful by planting flowers and trees.

Given the importance of harmonising development with nature, thromde established an Urban Forestry and Beautification Section in 2011.

The department aims to protect existing undeveloped green-spaces from further development, enhance the health, condition and function of existing trees, restore open lands and wetlands either through planting or natural regeneration, and to encourage public, schools, institutions, and private organisations to participate in increasing green spaces in the city.

On a pilot basis, thromde has also outsourced some of the beautification works. Providing care and maintaining of plants within Thimphu city has been given on a year contract to Euphel Nursery. The project is funded by thromde at Nu 2.5 million.

Thimphu thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said the project looks at planting different kinds of plants and flowers according to the seasons. “This year we will also make a beautification plan of the expressway and tender it out.”

Karma Cheki