Given it's rich resources and resounding beauty in urgent need of proper management and protection, WWF has a large programme based in Papua New Guinea (PNG) dating back to 1990 when the South Pacific Programme was established in region.
PNG contains globally significant freshwater, forest and marine habitats. The WWF Global Ecoregions map identifies areas of the very highest biological importance on the planet.
4% of the Global Terrestrial Ecoregions
New Guinea, with its unique tree kangaroos, birds of paradise and over 20,000 species of plants, is recognised as one of the top priorities for global conservation action. 9 of the 142 terrestrial ecoregions are in New Guinea, making up 4% of the Global Ecoregions.
The ecoregions range from coastal mangroves, extensive lowland rainforests, mountain cloud forests, sub-alpine grasslands, and the tallest mountains east of the Himalayas, which include an equatorial glacier. Remarkable species diversity and endemism place the island among the world's top 10 places for biodiversity.
..and in good condition
And unlike so many other ecoregions around the world, New Guinea remains in excellent condition with much of its forests intact, its waters unpolluted and its reefs bright with fish and coral. To keep it this way in the next century will take a major effort from a wide range of people and groups who are facing increasing pressures to develop PNG economically and politically through the use of its natural resources.
Working with local authorities to ensure a safe future
PNG was the first country in the world to adopt the WWF ecoregions as the basis for its environmental planning systems, which it termed "Conservation Planning Regions". WWF works closely with PNG's Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) on its national planning framework for biodiversity strategy and action planning, ensuring the necessary resources are there to implement sustainable use and managed protection programmes.