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Geography of Bhutan

The kingdom of Bhutan is landlocked state in south Asia located in the foothills of Himalayas. Bhutan is bordered China to the north and to the south, east- west by India. Further west it’s Nepal via Indian State of Sikkim, while further south it’s separated by Bangladesh via Indian State of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26℃ and 29℃ N, and longitudes 88℃ and 93℃ E. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of Swift River, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200 m (600ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7000 m (23000ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan’s outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The northern region of the country consists of an arc of Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows reaching up to glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold climate at the highest elevations. Most peaks in the north are over 7000 m (23000ft) above sea level; the highest point of Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum at 7570 meters (24840ft), which has the distinction of being the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The lowest point, at 98 m (322ft), is in the valley of Drangme Chhu, where the river crosses the border with India. Watered by snow- fed rivers, alpine valleys in this region provide pasture for livestock, tended by a sparse population of migratory shepherds. The black mountains in the central region of Bhutan form a watershed between two major river systems: the Mochhu and the Drangme Chhu. Peaks in the black mountains range between 1500 and 4925 m (4900 and 16158 ft) above sea level, and fast flowing rivers have carved out deep gorges in the lower mountain areas. The forests of the central Bhutan Mountains consist of Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests in higher elevations and Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests in lower elevations. Woodlands of the central region provide most of Bhutan’s forest production. The Torsa, Raidak, Sankosh, and Manas are the main rivers of Bhutan, following through this region. Most of the Population lives in the central highlands.

In the south, the Shiwalik Hills are covered with dense Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, alluvial lowland river valleys, and mountains up to around 1500m (4900ft) above sea level. The foothills descend in to the subtropical Duars Plain. Most of the Duars is located in India, although a 10 to 15 Km (6.2 to 9.3 m) wide strip extends into Bhutan. The Bhutan Duars is divided into two parts: the northern and the southern Duars. The northern Duars which abuts the Himalayan foothills, has rugged, sloping terrain and dry, porous soil with dense vegetation and abundant wildlife. The southern Duars has moderately fertile soil, heavy savannah grass, dense, mixed jungle, and fresh water springs. Mountain Rivers, fed by either the melting snow or the monsoon rain, empty into the Bramaputra River in India. Data released by the Ministry of Agriculture showed that the country had a forest cover of 64%.

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