An integrated assessment of the effects of natural and human disturbances on a wetland ecosystem: a retrospective from Phobjikha conservation area, Bhutan

Phobjikha Valley is one of the largest high-altitude wetlands in Bhutan and an important habitat for various species including the vulnerable Black-necked Crane. The area provides a wide range of ecosystem services to the local people, and is becoming a major tourist attraction. However, in recent years, Phobjikha has experienced rapid and alarming changes as a result of climate change, agricultural expansion and development activities. This study, which was jointly conducted by ICIMOD and the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN), seeks to understand the changes taking place in the Phobjikha Conservation Area, and their implications for wetland biodiversity (in particular the Black-necked Crane), surrounding land uses, and local livelihoods.