MS poles to replace wooden flag poles will save thousands of young trees in Nubi gewog

Thousands of young age pole size trees are being harvested every year for the hoisting of prayer flags which is causing a serious negative impact on forest resources.

In order to protect the harvesting of young pole wood, UNDP has initiated the use of durable alternative mild steel (MS) poles to replace wooden poles in 24 villages under Nubi gewog in Trongsa.

Tshering Phuntsho, National Coordinator of GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP, said that Nubi Geog is located in the northern part of Trongsa Dzongkhag and falls within the main Mangdechu watershed (headwater) area.

The whole gewog falls within the biological corridor and the uppermost part of the gewog falls inside the Wangchuk Centennial National Park (WCNP) and is a significant habitat for tigers and other wildlife in the country.

According to the WCNP, WWF Bhutan, the park revealed that 244 species of vascular plants, 23 species of large mammals and 134 species of birds are present. The gewog, due to its location is experiencing high-intensity of rainfall during summer and the whole gewog is situated on a steep terrain/slope and so there is a high risk of landslide and soil erosions.

Consequently, the conservation of natural resources has become so important to sustain the watershed area, protect landslides and soil erosion and protect the flora and fauna. However, thousands of young age pole size trees are being harvested every year for the hoisting of prayer flags which is causing a serious negative impact on forest resources.

Therefore, the aim of the project is to substitute wooden prayer flag poles with permanent Iron poles. It is proposed that one to two permanent MS poles will be installed in designated locations in each village and communities are expected to hang prayer flags on the MS pole once the MS poles are installed.

It is estimated that a total of 108 prayer flags can fit (hung in a conical style) on each MS pole and can save around 108 young pole size trees from being destroyed and thus preventing negative impact on the environment.

There are 24 villages under Nubi gewog and each village will be provided with one to two MS poles (with Gyeltshen) and small iron rings fixed at the top and at the base in a conical style. A total of 36 MS poles which are 18 meters long will be installed in 24 villages.

Through the implementation of this project, it is expected to save thousand young trees from in-discriminate harvesting.

The communities will also gain benefits financially as they do not have to spend time and money on the extraction of flag poles from the forest.

The project will enhance the capacity of the stakeholders such as the local religious groups, and communities including the newly formed executive committee members on forest and environment conservation.

The expected output of the project is to have installed MS poles in all 24 villages, to make use of the MS poles for hoisting prayer flags by the communities, reduce the use of young wooden poles and enhance forest resources conservation in the area.

The project will provide MS poles in each village to replace the use of wooden poles for prayer flags. The communities will be educated on forest & watershed conservation and create awareness of the benefit of using MS poles.

Meanwhile, the project is UNDP’s small grants programme in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan.

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