Stretching from the lowlands to altitudes beyond 3,000 m, New Guinea's forests show an enormous variety in species, aspect and dynamics depending on their location.
A walk through these forests is not just a journey under the canopy but also a trip in time. Some of the plants here are more than 100 million years old.
A profile of the New Guinea lowland forests
Richer and more diverse in species than their montane counterparts, the lowland forests of southern New Guinea are the home of more than 1,200 species of trees and about 2,000 species of ferns.1
Tracts of this kind of forest are most extensive on foothills and the lower slopes of mountains.
Lowland rainforests are demanding ecosystems. They need at least 2,500 mm of rainfall per year, and they only show the greatest species diversity on well-drained sites.
Lowland forests are not uniform in appearance. At higher altitude, the canopy decreases in height (from a maximum of 50 m to 25 m), but trees are more closely bunched than on alluvial lands.