With the aim of playing a vital and catalytic role at the intersection of science, entrepreneurship, policy, business and ecological resilience, Bhutan Ecological Society (BES) was recognised as a civil society organisation in December 2016.
The society was established in 2010 as an umbrella organisation under the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER) in Bumthang.
The society’s main objectives are to promote entrepreneurship within the natural resources sector and to ensure sustainable use of forests and rural landscapes, to monitor long-term changes in climate and critical resources such as water and forests, to promote energy efficiency and sustainable architecture, and to promote and encourage science, environmental education and advocacy.
The organisation has initiated many programmes and projects in the fields of energy and sustainable architecture, landscapes, enterprise and sustainability, education, and outreach and advocacy fields.
The society has established Department of Energy and Sustainable Architecture (DESA) to focus on ensuring ecological resilience through intervention on innovative energy and green buildings.
Senior programme officer of the society, Tshering Dorji, said that although exploring new ideas and implementing it on the living building is challenging, the society is hoping to enhance smart buildings in the coming years.
The society has two on-going projects – energy and climate adaptations of high altitudes school, and energy efficiency in the buildings of Thimphu by providing free access to architectural designs and other information.
To provide a comfortable learning environment, the society has retrofitted the academic blocks at Merak Primary School to adapt to the prolonged harsh climate. The project is also hoping to reduce the uses of scarce alpine natural resources through the introduction of modern cooking utensils and heating system.
The society has also initiated Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS). Conservation Assured (CA) is a new conservation tool to set minimum standards for effective management of the target species.
For education, outreach and advocacy, the society hosts School for Field Studies (SFS) in its centre in Paro. The programme provides hands-on research experience to American undergraduates and field-based environmental education in Bhutan.
The society also hosts annual research symposium and publishes open source scientific journal, the Journal of Bhutan Ecological Society.