Implementation of ongoing REDD-related projects in Bhutan has just started and it is evolving. Nevertheless, it is surprising to note that there is not a single mention of wetland ecosystem in the latest national REDD+ readiness document. This clearly indicates lack of awareness and lack of data on the potential role a wetland ecosystem can play in emission or sequestration of Carbon.
Recent national policies of promoting rice cultivation at higher altitudes have converted hectares of natural wetlands to paddy cultivation. Many ongoing river course realignment projects have been degrading huge areas of riparian wetlands. Even Ramsar sites like Phobjikha is threatened by heavy grazing pressure and agriculture expansion. Wetlands at higher altitudes in the Himalayas are also under intense grazing pressure, rising temperature and increasing human activities.
Currently, there is also limited national policy documents and literature on wetlands in Bhutan. Few available documents are mostly related to three recently identified RAMSAR sites. While only national wetland inventory was prepared in 2008, it was based on satellite images focusing only on high altitude wetlands. Thus there isn’t any information regarding other types of wetlands in the country and no existence of data on Carbon-rich wetlands. Thus one of the main objectives of the proposed study is to conduct scoping workshop to develop methodology applicable to Bhutanese ecosystems in identifying Carbon-rich wetlands and assessing potential driver of the wetlands.