In a fitting gesture, the birth of the crown prince of Bhutan was celebrated with the planting of 108,000 trees. Prime Minister Tschering Tobgay joined tens of thousands of volunteers in planting the trees. King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema are much loved in the Himalayan kingdom.

At Ecophiles, we cheer the initiative as it is vital to protect the natural riches of the Himalayas. People in Bhutan stop during daily walks or drives to water some of the 108,000 saplings planted on hillsides and in the valleys. In Buddhism, trees are considered divine for providing and nourishing all life forms.

The Most trees planted in one hour (team) is 49,672 and was achieved by Bhutan Eco-Green Initiative Network (BEGIN) in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture & Forests (both Bhutan), in Thimphu, Bhutan, on 2 June 2015. Photo: By Drukpa Publications Pvt. Ltd. - www.drukpa.com, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Most trees planted in one hour is 49,672 was achieved in Bhutan in  June 2015. Photo: Drukpa Publications. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Why 108,000? Trees are symbols of longevity, health, beauty and compassion. The number of saplings makes divine sense as well – Buddhists believe each person is required to overcome 108 defilements in order to achieve enlightenment.

The trees range from teak to oak, dogwood to pine, depending on the altitude. Bhutan is well known for nurturing its natural beauty, protected by the constitution that declares that 60 per cent of the country must always be under forest cover.