A two-day stakeholders’ workshop on Invertebrates of Bhutan was held in Thimphu from 1 to 2 February 2017. The participants were from the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment (UWICE), the College of Natural Resources (CNR), Sherubtse College, the Royal Thimphu College (RTC), the National Plant Protection Centre (NPPC), and the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC). The project on Invertebrates of Bhutan is being administered and coordinated by the NBC and various stakeholders as mentioned above are involved. This project is backed up by the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands and the MoU has been signed between NBC and the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre.
The project on Invertebrates of Bhutan Project acts as an umbrella program, because it concerns the cooperation of several agencies with overall coordination responsibilities entrusted to the NBC. Knowledge on invertebrates in Bhutan is still limited for which reason the Invertebrates of Bhutan Project was started in 2012. This project aims at enhancing the facilities for the study of Bhutanese biodiversity, to increase the knowledge of Bhutanese invertebrate fauna and to train Bhutanese counterparts. Currently, project focused on the five biodiversity groups such as Hymenoptera, Odonata, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Molluscs.
This stakeholders’ workshop mainly focused on the final phase of the project, current results, preliminary checklists, journal paper publications, field guide books publication, poster distribution across the country and focus on understudied biodiversity groups. Current status of the progress, issues and challenges were discussed and in addition, the floor decided to expand the biodiversity groups, mostly under studied groups such as grasshoppers, mosquitoes, etc. This workshop came up with new and innovative ideas to upscale this
project in the second phase as the current project will end in June 2017.
The floor was also briefed on mapping skills and data management techniques using GIS, Microsoft Access, online GIS, and other user-friendly software to manage and analyze huge numbers of data. GIS techniques will be applied in the field and as well as at their respective agencies and NBC will host the overall project data with back-up. The data such as photos, videos, journal papers, and checklists shall be made available in the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal (www.biodiversity.bt). Moreover, the data generated from the project using GIS will be explored to link with the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal.
Most of the biodiversity escapes our eyes. We see just a forest where there are in fact hundreds of plants, we see just a tree where there are dozens of beetles and there is a myriad of invertebrates in the soil as well. Yet this largely unseen biodiversity is key to the proper functioning of ecosystems. Thus, this workshop was timely set rendering enough time to focus on papers, field guide books and field excursions.