An Ethnobotanical Study of Non-Timber Forest Products in Dorokha, Bhutan

Tej Kumar Nepal *

Evaluation and Assessment Division, Department of Prevention and Education, Anti-Corruption Commission, Thimphu, Bhutan.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


The knowledge of indigenous people regarding the surrounding environment, local biodiversity, and their management have helped them thrive over thousands and millions of years. The indigenous people are local successors of various cultures. Their way of linking the environment with people who have cherished cultural, traditional, environmental, economic, social, and political views is diverse among modern lifestyles. Local traditional knowledge is dependent on the communication of man with nature. Local traditional knowledge focuses on the interrelationships and communications of living entities with one another and their surrounding environment. The survey listed around 146 plant species (52 trees, 19 shrubs, 48 herbs, 5 bamboo, and 23 climbers) under 67 families and 112 genera. Out of 146 species, 6 are used for dye extractions, 6 are used for fibre extractions or as a rope, 31 are used as fodder for livestock, 5 are used as bamboo, 7 are used as fuelwood and 3 species for the broom. NTFP is also used to make agricultural equipment, consumed as snacks, vegetables, and raw fruits, made into pickles, or dried up to be used during the cold season. Out of 246 species, 71 species (22 trees, 6 shrubs, 36 herbs, and 7 climbers) belonging to 46 families and 64 genera were used as medicinal plants.

Keywords: Traditional knowledge, wild edible plants, Dorokha, Samtse, Bhutan

How to Cite

Nepal, Tej Kumar. 2023. “An Ethnobotanical Study of Non-Timber Forest Products in Dorokha, Bhutan”. Asian Plant Research Journal 11 (1):37-67.


Download data is not yet available.


Sangay T, Vernes K. Human–wildlife conflict in the Kingdom of Bhutan: patterns of livestock predation by large mammalian carnivores. Biological Conservation. 2008 May 1;141(5):1272-82.

National Statistics Bureau (NSB). Population and Housing Census of Bhutan. Thimphu: National Statistics Bureau, Royal Government of Bhutan; 2018.

Wangchuk P, Tobgay T. Contributions of medicinal plants to the Gross National Happiness and Biodiscovery in Bhutan. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 2015;11(48):1-23.

Yeshi K, Aagaard-Hansen J, Wangchuk P. Medicinal, nutritional, and spiritual significance of plants in Bhutan: their biodiscovery potential and conservation status. In A. S. Abbasi, & R. W. Bussmann, Ethnobiology of Mountain Communities of Asia. Springer, Cham. 2021;1-25.

Nepal TK. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and its importance in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. In S. C. Rai, & P. K. Mishra, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Resource Management in Asia. Springer, Cham. 2022;317-332.

Tshewang U, Tobias MC, Morrison JG. Bhutan: Conservation and environmental protection in the Himalayas. Springer, Cham; 2021.

National Biodiversity Centre (NBC). Biodiversity Statistics of Bhutan: A Preliminary Baseline. Thimphu: National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan; 2019.

Kubiszewski I, Costanza R, Dorji L, Thoennes P, Tshering K. An initial estimate of the value of ecosystem services in Bhutan. Ecosystem Services. 2013;3:e11-e21.

Banerjee A, Bandopadhyay R. Biodiversity hotspot of Bhutan and its sustainability. Current Science. 2016;110(4):521-527.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF). Biodiversity action plan. Thimphu: National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture, Royal Government of Bhutan; 2009.

National Environment Commission (NEC). Bhutan’s second National Communication to UNFCCC, 2011. Thimphu: Royal Government of Bhutan; 2016.

Bhutan Land Cover Assesment. Technical report: Bhutan land cover assessment (LCMP-2010). Thimphu: Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Royal Government of Bhutan; 2010.

Manita, Nepal TK. An uodated checklist of globally threatened species in Bhutan as listed in IUCN red list of thretened species. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR): 2021;10(2):1640-1646.

Cajete G. Look to the Mountains: An Ecology of indigenous education. Colorado: Kivaki Press; 1994.

Battiste M, Henderson JY. Protecting indigenous knowledge & heritage: a global challenge. Saskatoon Canada: Purich Publishing; 2000.

McGregor D. Traditional ecological knowledge and sustainable development: Towards coexistence. In M. Blaser, H. A. Feit, & G. McRae, In the way of development. Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization. London & New York: Zed Books. 2004;72-91.

Berkes F. Sacred Ecology. New York: Routledge; 2008.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Synthesis. Washington: Island Press; 2005.

Belcher, B, Ruíz-Pérez, M, & Achdiawan, R. (2005). Global patterns and trends in the use and management of commercial NTFPs: implications for livelihoods and Conservation. World Development, 33(9):1435–1452.

Steele MZ, Shackleton CM, Shaanker RU, Ganeshaiah KN, Radloff S. The influence of livelihood dependency, local ecological knowledge and market proximity on the ecological impacts of harvesting non-timber forest products. Forest Policy and Economics. 2015;50:285-281.

Shackleton C, Shackleton S. The importance of non-timber forest products The importance of non-timber forest products. South African Journal of Science. 2004;100(11 & 12):658–664.

Vedeld P, Angelsen A, Bojö J, Sjaastad E, Kobugabe BG. Forest environmental incomes and the rural poor. Forest Policy Economics. 2007;9(7):869–879.

Belcher B, Schreckenberg K. Commercialisation of non-timber forest Commercialisation of non-timber fores. Development Policy Review. 2007;25(3): 355–377.

Ticktin T. The ecological implications of harvesting non-timber forest products. Journal of Applied Ecology. 2004;41(1): 11–21.

Larsen HO, Olsen CS. Unsustainable collection and unfair trade? Uncovering and assessing assumptions regarding central Himalayan medicinal plant conservation. Biodiversity Conservation. 2007;16:1679–1697.

Marshall E, Schreckenberg K, Newton AC. Commercialization of non-timber forest products: factors influencing success. Lessons Learned from Mexico and Bolivia and Policy Implications for Decision-makers. Cambridge, UK: UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre; 2006.

Yeshi K, Yangdon P, Kashyap S, Wangchuk P. Antioxidant activity and the polyphenolic and flavonoid contents of five high altitude medicinal plants used in bhutanese sowa rigpa medicine. Journal of Biologically Active Products from Nature. 2017;7(1):18-26.

Wangchuk P, Yeshi K, Jamphel K. Pharmacological, ethnopharmacological and botanical evaluation of subtropical medicinal plants of Lower Kheng region in Bhutan. Integrative Medicine Research. 2017;6(4):372–387.

Thapa L. The research project on edible wild plants of Bhutan and their associated traditional knowledge. Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture - Shinshu University (Japan). 2009;45(1):43–47.

Bartolome AP, Villaseñor IM, Yang WC. Bidens pilosa L. (Asteraceae): Botanical properties, traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:340215.

Alam F, Saqib QN, Ashraf M. Gaultheria trichophylla (Royle): a source of minerals and biologically active molecules, its antioxidant and anti lipoxygenase activities. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(3):1–9.

Thakur K, Rajani C, Tomar SK, Panmei A. Fermented bamboo shoots: a rich niche for beneficial microbes. Journal of Bacteriology & Mycology. 2016;2(4):87-93.

Miagro M, Penjor D, Pradhan S. Fungi of Bhutan. Thimphu, Bhutan: National Mushroom Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests; 2010.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAOSTAT. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2002.

Zangmo T. Kuensel Online; 2017, January 22.


Dorji D, Chong JL, Dorji T. Habitat Preference and Current distribution of Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla L. 1758) in Dorokha Dungkhag, Samtse, southern Bhutan. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2020;12(11):16424-16433.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-3; 2022. Retrieved April 1, 2022


Dorjee S. Bamboos of South-Eastern, Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan. NeBIO. 2019;10(1):12-16.

Nepal TK, Manita. The diversity of medicinal plants of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Asian Plant Research Journal. 2022;9(4):17-47.