2004 年 4 巻 1 号 p. 86-110
Until the 1980’s, the Royal Government of Bhutan developed natural and human resources for the purposes of economic development, while attempting to make a
national culture by emphasizing cultural differences from other countries, in language, dress etc. However, in the late 1980’s, the government tried to control the speed of development and proclaimed environmental conservation as the main national objective of Bhutan. It has considered that the thinking of Mahayana Buddhism, the national religion, enconpassed environmental ethics of global environmentalism. This means that Royal Government of Bhutan adopted global value, environmental conservation, as a strength of national identity or national culture. Then their “Traditional Buddhist Culture” changed from what represented Bhutanese uniqueness and cultural differences to what it had similarity with “Global Culture.”
In this paper, I will focus on the historical change of government policy concerning forest management and conservation in Bhutan and clarify the turning point in the change from forest development to environmental conservation. Forest development policy emphasizes forestry development and plantation projects. On the other hand, environmental conservation appreciates intrinsic value of the forest and nature itself and tries to conserve it. I consider that the commitment made to environmental conservation since the 1990’s by the Royal Government of Bhutan means that they changed the principle on which national culture was to be built as well as forest policy itself. My interest in this paper is to show the moment and process of these changes in modern Bhutan.