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In 1993 Royal Government of Bhutan notified nine protected areas, with four National Parks, four Wildlife Sanctuaries and one Strict Nature Reserve. The legislation governing the establishment and management of protected areas in Bhutan is the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan, 1995(FNCA). Chapter VI of the Act has provisions for the establishment of protected areas in the country. JigmeKhesar Strict Nature Reserve which has total area of 609.51 Km2 is the only Strict Nature Reserve among the protected area in the country and is the gem within the protected area system of the country. It lies mostly in Haa Dzongkhag (five out of its six geogs), with a very small spreading south into SamtseDzongkhag (two out of its fifteen geogs).

This is the only protected area in Bhutan without permanent human settlements, except for few migratory Yak herding communities. With most pristine temperate and alpine ecosystems in the country, arguably the entire Himalayas, it is home to endangered species such as the Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Tibetan Snowcock and Rufous Necked Hornbills. As well, Reserve harbours the only endemic poppy, the White Poppy (Meconopsissuperba) and has some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country. It is the only protected area in Bhutan that is part of the trans-boundary conservation landscape, i.e. the Kangchenjunga Landscape.

However, the Reserve was operationalized only in 2010 with kind approval from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest. The management plan for the Reserve was prepared based on four rapid assessment of biodiversity (plants, mammals and birds) and socio-economic status of the resident communities bordering the administrative jurisdiction of the Reserve. According to the management plan, it stated that as independent and permanent management authority needs to be established inorder to implement the conservation management plan effectively.

Dedicated to the extraordinary contributions of our beloved King JigmeKhesarNamgyelWangchukthe Fifth DrukGyelpoon Environment protection and conservation, the reserve was renamed to JigmeKhesar Strict Nature Reserve in October 2014 from its apparent name from Toorsa Strict Nature Reserve. As mentioned earlier, the Reserve got fully operationalized in the year 2010.

Objective: To enhance the effective management, maintain ecological integrity and ensure conservation measures in place.

Contact Info:

  • Telephone No.: +975 08 375300
  • Fax No.: +975 08 375386

Administrative Setup

Since the 99% of the Reserve area falls under HaaDzongkhag, the office has been set up in HaaDzongkhag on rent in order to provide effective services to the public and fulfill the prime objective of the government to conserve biodiversity. The Reserve is also planning to have Two fields Range/Warden office each atSangbay and BjiGeogwith two guard posts at Yaba and Lolithangto extend the coverage of the conservation activities and delivery public services efficiently particularly in reducing the incidence of wild life poaching and illegal trade.

The Reserve is organized into four sections under the Reserve Manager (Chief Forestry Officer) as reflected below:

  • Research, Information and Management Planning Section
  • Species Protection and Conservation Section
  • Resource Allocation Section
  • Communities, Recreation and Development Section

Significance of JKSNR

The significance of JKSNR is not only in Bhutan but also for the entire Hindu-Kush Himalayan region (HKH), which is a significant reservoir of biodiversity, composed of extraordinary varied eco-systems, assemblages of species of global importance and rich genetic diversity. It is home to many endemic, endangered and threatened flora and fauna species. There are also flagship species of the landscape. JKSNR forms an integral part of the Kangchenjunga Landscape, which is part of the proposed Scared Himalayan Landscape (SHL) of the Eastern Himalayas. SHL is also known popularly as the Snow Leopard Landscape forming part of the Indo-Burman Biodiversity Hotspot; one of the 10 hotspots of the world. SHL builds link with the three major trans-boundary conservation areas in China, India and Bhutan.

The Reserve provides tremendous ecological services to the nation in terms of serving as an important watershed for two major rivers in the country, namely Haachu and Amochhu, on which mega-hydropower projects have been built (Wangchu) and some are in the process of being built (Amo Chu). In addition, people residing in the Reserve especially yak herders continue to reap benefits from the bountiful natural resources of the Reserve. Further, many international tourists find their favorite trekking destinations in the Reserve particularly to Nub-Tshonapata , and the park assists the tour operators to contribute substantial amount of foreign currencies to the national exchequer.

Floral Biodiversity

A total of 427 species of plants were identified belonging to 115 family; including 137 species of trees, 68 shrub species, 182 herb species, 5 weed species, 10 orchid species, 8 grass species, 6 bamboo species and 10 fern species. Among these, numerous Schedule I plants protected under FNCA, 1995 such as Cordyceps, Snow down Lily, Blue Poppy, Ginseng and Rhuemnobile were recorded. In addition, three Appendix II species of the CITES and four endemic species namely Viola bhutanica, Bhutantherahimalayana, Meconopsissuperba and Bryocarpumhimalaciumwere recorded.

Faunal Biodiversity

A total of 29 species of mammals, 161 species of birds, 64 species of butterfly and 7 species of fish were recorded.

Staff Strength

  • 1. Administration & Accounts
  • NamgayWangchuk (Chief Forestry Officer, 17627920, namwang10@gmail.com)
  • SonamTobgay (Chief Forestry Officer)
  • RinzinDorji (Adm/HR Focal)
  • Mrs. Taumo (Accountant)
  • 2. Research, Information and Management Planning Section
  • Ugyen Head, 17651285, utakchu@gmail.com
  • Bhakta Bdr. Ghalley Forest Ranger I
  • ChenduZangmo (Forester)
  • SangayGyeltshen (Forester)
  • Wangchuk Forester
  • This section is mandated to carry out the following activities:
    • Monitoring of plan activities
    • Gather, collect & organize information on
    • Forest produce use
    • Illegal activities
    • Revenue generation
    • Carry out or assist in research/survey/data collection
    • Prepare and produce field survey/research report
    • Produce annual report
    • Prepare 5 year plans

  • 3. Species Protection & Conservation Section
  • NgawangDorji (Head, 17966641, ngpelyangdor@gmail.com)
  • TshewangNamgay (Forest Ranger II)
  • Kinley Tenzin (Forester)
  • KezangWangdi (Forester)
  • DechenWangda (Forester)
  • This section is assigned to carry out:
    • Organize and conduct anti-poaching activities
    • Compounding of cases
    • Conduct EIAs for forest land clearance
    • Organize forest fire control and suppression
    • Manage wildlife recuse program
    • Organize forest felling against infections
    • Follow up on forest legal issues
  • Subsequently, the reserve has no section for resource allocation but this section is assigned to look after the resource allocation in reserve.
  • 4. Community Development & Recreation Section
  • Ugyen Tshering (Head, 77288490, ugyenden2013@gmail.com)
  • GyeltshenDorji (Forest Ranger I)
  • PhubDorji Forest Ranger II (Long term study at CNR)
  • Guman Singh Biswa (Forester)
  • Gaygay (Forester)
  • This section is delegated to:
    • Implement Human Wildlife Conflict activities
    • Develop, implement and monitor eco-tourism activities
    • Coordinate Environmental Education activities
    • Plan, Budget, implement and monitor the section activities