Box 8.3: Cultural values and conservation in Bhutan
Sustainable land management can be promoted by strengthening environment-friendly cultural values and customary institutions. In Bhutan, cultural values play a role in protecting ecosystem services. Mahayana Buddhism places strong significance on the peaceful coexistence of people with nature and the sanctity of life and compassion for others. This explains in large part the high share (71 per cent) of land area under forests in Bhutan and the fact that 25 per cent of Bhutan’s population lives within protected areas (Nkonya, Mirzabaev and Von Braun 2016). Many of Bhutan’s Buddhist monasteries are located within the forested landscapes of the country.