The Anthropocene in Bhutan

  • Ugyen Tshewang
  • Jane Gray Morrison
  • Michael Charles Tobias
Part of the Fascinating Life Sciences book series (FLS)


Impacts of the Anthropocene in Bhutan are, in part, clearly attributable to the global impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, largely by industrialized countries. There are few if any appropriate analogies between the so-called historical responsibility of major industrial powers and a diminutive Bhutan, which has demonstrated a negligible interference with global systems and, as measured comparatively with other countries, provides a net buffer or sink for the storage of carbon as defined in per capita emissions and the extent of closed canopy throughout much of the country. As a consequence of the severe human interference with the planet’s ecosystems, a multitude of researchers have proposed the transition from the Holocene into a new geological epoch, the “Anthropocene,” and this transformation has occurred in a very short condensed period of time marked by an extreme pushing of all ecosystems beyond their boundaries of replenishment (*1). The current trajectory, which has monitored a multitude of populations and species, indicates consistent declines in populations by 58% between 1970 and 2012 due to the unsustainable practices that mainly contribute to habitat loss, degradation, and climate change. The Living Planet Report (2016) reports that, of the 14,152 monitored species populations, 3706 vertebrate species have shown a consistent decline. It is predicted that even if United Nations targets to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020 were to be manifested, 67% of species populations may likely have declined during the last half-century. The myriad assessments of the conservation status of many taxonomic groups over the last 50 years suggest that 26% of 5500 mammals, 13% of 10,400 birds, 41% of 6000 amphibians, 33% of 845 reef-building corals, and 63% of 340 cycads are at risk of extinction (“The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015” MDGR 2015).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ugyen Tshewang
    • 1
  • Jane Gray Morrison
    • 2
  • Michael Charles Tobias
    • 2
  1. 1.National Environment CommissionRoyal Government of BhutanThimphuBhutan
  2. 2.Dancing Star FoundationLos AngelesUSA

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