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Bhutan Main Page

 

Bhutan's Geography

 

Bhutan's climate is as diverse as it's land.  Depending on the altitude, area and amount of sunlight, the climate can range from bitter cold to a humid, hot tropical climate.  The precipitation that Bhutan gets comes between the months of June to September and averages for the year about 25 inches (650 mm).  

A small country covering a little over 18,000 sq mi (47,000 sq km), Bhutan's land is very varied.  Snow peaks in the Himalayas, swamps and highlands are just some of the land conditions that are found in a short range from each other.  The three main areas in Bhutan are the Great Himalayan Region, Middle Himalayan Region and the Duars.  

The Duars, a plain only 5-8 miles wide (8-13 km), are located along the Indian border and have a tropical climate.  The northern section of the Duars is home to wildlife such as tigers and deer with its rugged, coarse terrain.  The southern portion of the Duars is cultivated for rice, but had at one time been a jungle filled with bamboo.

The Middle Himalayan region is part of the Himalayan range that spreads down from the north and surrounds rich, broad valleys.  The valleys, with their mild climate are cultivated and populated.  The rainfall in this region is average, not humid and wet like the Duars.

The Great Himalayan Region borders Tibet and is relatively uninhabitable.  The highest peak in Bhutan is located here, Kula Kangri (4,900-9,200 ft/1,500-2,800 m).  The high valleys are home to a few people, but the main inhabitants in the bitterly cold climate are Bhutanese yaks.

 

Location:
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
27 30 N, 90 30 E
Map references:
Asia
Area:
total: 38,394 sq km
country comparison to the world: 136
land: 38,394 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about one-half the size of Indiana
Land boundaries:
total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Current Weather
varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Terrain:
mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Drangeme Chhu 97 m
highest point: Gangkar Puensum 7,570 m
timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Land use:
arable land: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 97.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:
400 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
95 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.43 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 199 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes

 


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