PNG has 1786 vertebrate species which is higher than larger land masses in the world such as the rain forests of West Africa. The number of scientifically unnamed species of plants and vertebrates is thought to exceed 5,000 species.
However, PNG now faces growing biological degradation. Virgin forests have gone into logging, mining and large agricultural activities such as oil palm plantations. Biodiversity surveys give us a clear picture of what our forests have so that concerned bodies of authority can come up with strategic plans for conservation and preservation of our forest heritage for the future generation.
One such survey was carried out in the Baining Mountains in East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea in the second half of 2016. The aim was to document the flora and fauna of the area. Since it is not a conservation area, the information will help the government to determine whether it should establish conservation area in the Baining Mts.
The results of this survey showed that the Baining Mts. have a rich and diverse biota, including numerous species of ferns, orchids and frogs that are new to science. A total of 250 different species of ferns were collected. 325 live orchids were collected of which 28 are new to science. We found 52 different species of amphibians, several of which are new to science. 75 different species of forest birds and 23 different species of mammals were also found.
Dealing with conservation is a challenge because locals have different perceptions and to deal with it, one has to stay with the community and attain their ways of living. Only then can one be able to convince them about conservation. In this presentation, I will talk about some challenges faced during our stay at the Baining Mts. including its highlights.
About the presenter
Mr Maraia earned his B.S. Forestry with merit from UNITECH and is currently doing his M.S. Forestry studies on the popular ornamental flower genus Ixora, many native species of which inhabit PNG forests. He aspires to be a plant systematist and future participant in biodiversity surveys such as the one he will describe in this seminar.