The Papua rainforest has the most amazing and unique natural forest ecosystem compared to other terrestrial ecosystems. It is a sacred shelter to thousands of living species. The area spreads from coastal tropical forests to alpine tropical forest ecosystems. It is no wonder that such a rainforest is crucial to the nearby environments.
As the name suggests, a rainforest has a high annual amount of rainfall, at a minimum of 254 centimeters. This natural area is dense and lush in biodiversity. Most vegetation is very green, tall, dense, and durable. There are two types of rainforests, tropical and temperate. Papua has a wide tropical rainforest since the island is close to the equator. Here are several interesting facts about the Papua rainforest to blow your mind!
4 Interesting Things About Papua Rainforest
The World’s Third Largest and Second Most Diverse Rainforest
After Amazon and Congo rainforests, Indonesia’s tropical rainforest holds the position as the third-largest rainforest in the world. It is also the second most diverse rainforest after Amazon in terms of the level of biodiversity. The forest lies in the western part of New Guinea island, Papua and West Papua provinces to the eastern part.
The island’s rainforest occupies 28.2 million hectares area of Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, 33.8 million hectares are in Papua and West Papua Provinces. Out of 88 million hectares of Indonesia forest distribution, Papua has the equivalent of 38% of the national forest area. The place nurtures, at least, a total of 5% of the world’s plant and animal species.
Supporting the Livelihood of Papua’s Indigenous Tribes
Rainforest’s ecosystem provides many natural materials and services to fulfill the basic needs of the native people. The forest gives direct help such as providing durable wood, edible fruits, and plants. It is a haven for a traditional civilization to develop their culture and life.
One native tribe living in the Papua rainforest area is the Korowai Tribe. These people take residence in high tree houses (20 to 70 meters above ground). They cherish the forest as it presents them with a safe home and abundant natural resources.
The rainforest is also important to people around the globe. Most herbs for medicine to cure severe diseases can only be found in this environment. The development of medicine for cancer will enter a deadlock if the rainforest’s ecosystem suffers huge damage.
The Home of 200,000 Invertebrate Species and 3,000 Vertebrate Species
There exist more than 200,000 invertebrate species and 3,000 vertebrate species in this rainforest. One can discover many insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, or plants unique to the rainforest. Not limited to that, more than 13,000 vascular plants are living here.
In addition, it is also the habitat of Cendrawasih, the Birds of Paradise. A rainforest is an important place that provides food and plants for Cendrawasih birds. People have discovered seven species of Cendrawasih endemic to the island. Furthermore, some believe that the rainforest of Papua still has many unknown or unidentified species of animals and plants.
Helping the World Fight Global Warming
Vegetation in rainforests releases a huge amount of oxygen into the air. They are also capable of sequestering carbon dioxide. Indonesia’s rainforest can absorb 25,18 tons of carbon which might ease the severity of global warming. In addition, the rainforest can positively affect the temperatures and weather patterns around the world.
The Papua rainforest sure has many interesting facts. The area houses hundreds of thousands of living species while providing natural yet essential materials to the native tribes. Moreover, it helps the world to fight against climate change. If you have the chance to visit the island, do not forget to see this rainforest’s various flora and fauna!