Phochu catchment protection and land reclamation at Lunana
Phochu catchment protection and land reclamation at Lunana
Lunana, located in the extreme north western corner of Bhutan is one of the most remote geogs in Bhutan. It falls within the eastern periphery of Jigme Dorji National Park. Due to harsh weather and extreme climatic conditions, crop and vegetable farming is not a promising practice for the livelihood of the people, so they depend mainly on livestock rearing and the collection of Ophiocordyceps. There are many glacier lakes in Lunana posing potential threat to lives and properties of people living down streams. The 1994, Luggey Tsho (glacier lake) bursting due to excessive glacial melting had claimed lives of several people and damaged properties of people living in the villages down streams. This has caused a substantial loss of pasture land adversely affecting the livelihoods of dairy based communities belonging to Tshojong and Dotag communities, under Lunana geog. The flood has converted the pasture land to the desert through sand sedimentation during the flood causing difficulty for the communities in rearing their livelihood. Many people in these communities said that not only raising livestock has become harder due to the flood but also they have to travel longer distance to collect firewood compared to the times before the flood.
Since the area Tshojong has degraded and is almost barren. The total area measures 2 hectares. The entire plantation periphery is surrounded by the sand gulley on the left. It has flat area, with sporadic Salix wallichii. It is suited at an altitude of 4000 meter above sea level. The sand is easily eroded by both wind and water and disposed into Phochhu, whereby it reaches down streams causing increased siltation of the Punatsangchhu hydropower dam. If not checked and mitigated now, the Punatsangchhu hydropower project would soon face the problem of siltation which will unnecessarily escalate the cost of power production.
Natural regeneration of plants in the eroded area is poor and therefore the place has become prone to erosion and degradation. Therefore, for the purpose of land reclamation and also to revert the pasture land, artificial plantation in the area is felt necessary. Through plantation, it will contribute to the catchment area protection, water conservation and reduction of siltation at the down streams apart from meeting the fodder and firewood for the livestock and communities respectively.

Project Snapshot

Phochu Catchment Protection Tshogpa
Area Of Work:
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 23,450.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 24,900.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
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SGP Country office contact

Mr. Tenzin Wangchuk
Mr. Tshering Phuntsho
009752322424 (ext:330)


UN House, Peling Lam (Street), Kawajangsa, Thimphu, P.O. Box No. 162
Thimphu, Bhutan, 11001