Habitats & Vegetation – Wangchuck Centennial National Park

Wildlife habitats in WCNP ranges from cool broad leaved to dry alpinescrubs, which are relatively in good status as hereunder:

Flora

The park comprises of three ecological zones with six different habitat types, namely cool broad leave forest, mixed conifer forest, fir forest, juniper forest, alpine meadows and scrubs, and alpine scree and elevation ranging from 2500m to beyond 5000m. A total of 693 species of vascular plants are recorded in the last (October, 2008) survey.

Floristic Composition and its importance to wildlife management

Three of six zones showed are identified in this park, namely cool temperate zones (2500-3000m), sub alpine zone (3000-4000m), and alpine zone above4000m. Within these ecological zones, the following forest types, which have been described and identified, are as hereunder:

  1. Cool broadleaved forest
  2. Mixed conifer forest
  3. Firforest
  4. Juniper forest
  5. Alpine meadows and scrubs
  6. Alpine scree

Species of Ethno-botanical Value

In keeping with the legendary myth of Bhutan known to the outside world as “Druk Lhomenjong” meaning the land of medical herbs, this park also has a plethora of medicinal plants. So far, a total of 33 species have been documented in the areas covered by the survey. This includes the highly priced Yartsa Goenbup and the Himalayan Yew Taxus baccata wallichaina, which is found to be rare throughout its range in this park. The national tree of Bhutan Cupressus corneyana, is not only a valuable timber species butits leaves find its use in incense making too.

Fauna

The park straddles two zoogeographic realms (ecotone of the Palaeartic and Indo-Malayan) with wide range of habitats. It is rich in overall species diversity. Several of these species are rare, endangered, or endemic to the region.

Mammals

A total of 43 mammals species were recorded during the survey including 8 species which are totally protected. They are Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Common Leopard (Panthera pardus), Snow Leopard (Unica unica), Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus laniger), Leopard cat (Felis bengalensis), Himalayan Musk bear (Moschus chrysogaster), Himalayan Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis thar) and Bhutan Takin( Budorcas taxicolar)

Birds

A total of 250 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Amongst 250 bird species, 130 are confirmed to breed in the park. During the last survey in the October 2008, Leucosticte brandti (Brandt’s Mountain Finch) was recorded for the first time in Bhutan. The Leptopoecile sophiae(White-browed Tit warbler) was recorded for the second time at a different location from its earlier record. Both species are recorded breeding in Bhutan for the first time. 42 species of butterflies have been recorded from the park and its buffer zone.

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