With over 70 percent forest coverage and wide range of altitude and climate, Bhutan has rich and diverse flora and fauna.
Bhutan can be divided into three zones:
The southern foothills, which is situated in Subtropical Zone (150m to 2000m) with Tropical or Subtropical vegetation.
The Temperate Zone (2000 to 4000m) with conifer or broadleaf forests covers most parts of the country; and the Alpine Zone (4000m and above) with no forest cover, at the northern Himalayan regions.
Forest type in Bhutan is diverse. Over 60 percent of the common plant species of the Eastern Himalayas are found in Bhutan. The forest type consists of mixed conifer forest, fir forest chirpine forest, bluepine forest, broadleaf mixed with conifers, tropical lowland forests, lowland hardwood forest and upland hardwood forest.
The royal government of Bhutan has tried to bring all the 46 species of Rhododendrons found in Bhutan at the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi, 35 km from Thimphu on Thimphu-Wangdue highway. Over 300 types of medicinal plants are found in Bhutan. Blue poppy (the national flower), edelweiss, gentian, medicinal plants, daphne, giant rhubarb, high-altitude plants, tropical trees, pine, junipers, magnolias, carnivorous plants, rare orchids, and oak are common sights.
Bhutan is paradise to a variety of animals. In the south the tropical forests among others tiger, clouded leopard, elephants, one horned Rhinoceros, water buffalo, golden langur, gaur, swamp deer, hog deer horn bills, are found. Temperate zone is a inhabited by tiger, leopard, goral, gray langur, Himalayan black beer, red panda, sambar, wild pig, and barking deer. In the high altitude animals like red panda, tiger, takin, marmot and musk deer, snow leopard, and blue sheep are found.
Bhutan is an area of rich biological diversity. It is a hub for 221 global endemic birds. In Bhutan till now over 670 species of birds have been recorded and many more are likely to be found. Most of the birds are dependent on the forest.
Bhutan has over 415 resident bird species. The birds migrate to the higher and lower altitude depending on the weather condition. There are 50 winter migrant birds. These include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings. Birds like cuckoos, swifts, bee-eaters, warblers, flycatchers and drongos are some of the 40 species of summer visitors or partial migrant to Bhutan.
Over 16 species found in Bhutan are internationally vulnerable birds. They are Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White Bellied Heron, Satyr Tragopan, Grey Bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogaon, Blyth’s King Fisher, Rumped Honey Guide, Purple Cochoa, Rufous Throated Wren Babbler, Red Headed Parrot Bill, Chestnut Breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Trogon, Wood Snipe, Dark Rumped Swift,Rufous Necked Hornbill, Grey Crowned Prinia And The Beautiful Nuthatch All Of Which Breeds In Bhutan.
Bhutan is an important wintering ground for the rare Black necked crane. Greater spotted Eagle, Baer’s Pochard, Imperial Eagle and Hodgson’s Bush chat are also found.