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Biodiversity of Papua New Guinea (PNG): Attempting a More Meaningful Conservation Description and Approach of Its Use, Co-evolution, Generic Status and Grim Outlook

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Abstract

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the few megadiversity nations in the world. It’s essentially an ancient species engine and hosts world-relevant populations of wildlife and plants, with a co-evolved human society for over 47,000 years. Many of the species in PNG are among the oldest in the world and endemic providing unique DNA and lessons of evolution for global mankind and well-being. One can see in PNG the more original set up of species in the tropics, and the world. Many international and grand expeditions, collections and research were done in PNG but with virtually little sustainability success. Most data remain not available, hardly known. However, while PNG was forced to engage in a global commodity market during colonial times and subsequent globalization the conservation status for most of those species and habitats in PNG remains poor and with little relevant action or vision presented. It follows a loose laissez-faire model from Australia added with neocolonial attitudes and Asian input. PNG remains a ‘feast’ for the global enterprise. It’s shown that the current nation set up and governance for megabiodiversity nations like PNG and wider Melanesia results in the wholesale destruction of otherwise globally relevant world wilderness, species, ecological services and sustainability.

Keywords

Neither the government of PNG nor of Indonesia shows the necessary capacity or commitment to actively conserve mammal species and their critical habitat.

Beehler and Laman ( 2020 , p. 220)

The most extraordinary and the most beautiful of the feathered inhabitants of the Earth.

Edgar Wallace reference to Birds of Paradise (cited in New South Wales State Library, 2022 )

Bats can hear shapes. Plants can eat light. Bees can dance maps. (This citation exist in several variations. And one may easily add infrasound, 3D and ocean issues, magnetic detection, and the feelings and counting skills by plants and trees etc. Overall, if all of those things are already occurring, what do we not know yet and how biased are humans in their knowledge, perception and subsequent conservation management? There is more than what meets the eye. PNG deeply entrenched in its cosmologies can open those pathways to the non-believer. Unfortunately, I know of many PNG experts that are not among those people but who remain with conservative, parsimonious descriptions of the Western Society the most, instead of seeing the wider, telecoupled, more holistic picture that PNG offers us and that its citizens know for millennia already.)

@CryptoNature in Ludlam (2021, p. 272)

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There is a good question where the Wallace Line and Weber Line actually are located, and how that is determined. In reality, one needs to be prepared to argue those details and to handle a grey zone instead.

  2. 2.

    It’s clearly a deflecting and misleading project title, and hide-and-play with words when using ‘Porgera Joint Venture’ while it actually says in the subtitle of the project site that ‘The Porgera Joint Venture owns the Porgera Gold Mine’ as per http://www.porgerajv.com/. The public does notice.

  3. 3.

    There are several sources and categories for endangered species in PNG; none fully agree or have deeper data even. This source here is a public web portal and can serve as an entry point, just as the IUCN Red Species List for PNG can. Based on personal experience, there are many inconsistencies and problems with the official sources and their meanings.

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Huettmann, F. (2023). Biodiversity of Papua New Guinea (PNG): Attempting a More Meaningful Conservation Description and Approach of Its Use, Co-evolution, Generic Status and Grim Outlook. In: Globalization and Papua New Guinea: Ancient Wilderness, Paradise, Introduced Terror and Hell. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-20262-9_6

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