Environment Matters: Himalayan Happiness
Secreted deep within the lush southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is bordered by two giant neighbors – with India to the south, southwest, and east and China to the north and northwest. Both demographically and geographically, Bhutan is a small mountainous and landlocked country, with a total population of 768, 577, growth rate of 1.3%, average household size of 4.6 people, and an area of 38,394 km2. The fragile mountainous ecosystems engender a unique congeries of landscapes with elevations ranging from 150 m in the southern foothills to about 7500 m toward the snow-bound mountain peaks in the north, within the distance of 170 km from the northern to the southern border. The east-west dimension of the country measures around 300 km. In general, Bhutan’s geophysical features are characterized by rugged and high mountains, snow-capped peaks with glaciers and moraines, deep valleys, ravines, and depressions providing river ways, drainage basins, and steep waterfalls, as anyone perusing easily accessible GIS systems and formats instantly discovers for her/himself (e.g., Google Earth).