Papua (Province)

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia West Papua Papua

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Introduction

Papua Province is the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia. It lies in West Papua region, which comprises the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Papua is bordered by the nation of Papua New Guinea to the east, and by West Papua province to the west. Its capital is Jayapura. It was formerly called Irian Jaya (before that West Irian or Irian Barat) and comprised all of Indonesian New Guinea. In 2002 the current name was adopted and in 2003 West Papua province was created within West Papua region from western parts of Papua province.

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Geography

The province contains the highest mountains between the Himalayas and the Andes, rising up to 4,884 metres high, and ensuring a steady supply of rain from the tropical atmosphere. The tree line is around 4,000 metres elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers, increasingly melting due to a changing climate. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both north and west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a hot humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.

The southern and northern lowlands stretch for hundreds of kilometres and include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and expanses of mangrove forest.[citation needed] The southern lowlands are the site of Lorentz National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The province's largest river is the Mamberamo located in the northern part of the province. The result is a large area of lakes and rivers known as the Lakes Plains region. The Baliem Valley, home of the Dani people, is a tableland 1,600 metres above sea level in the midst of the central mountain range. Puncak Jaya, also known by its Dutch colonial name, "Carstensz Pyramid", is a limestone mountain peak 4,884 metres above sea level. It is the highest peak of Oceania.

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Sights and Activities

Lorentz National Park

Lorentz National Park in West Papua is, with an area of 25,056 km2, the largest national park in Southeast Asia. In 1999 Lorentz was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The park is named for Hendrikus Albertus Lorentz, a Dutch explorer who passed through the area on his 1909-10 expedition.

An outstanding example of the biodiversity of New Guinea, Lorentz is one of the most ecologically diverse national parks in the world. It is the only nature reserve in the Asia-Pacific region to contain a full altitudinal array of ecosystems ranging through marine areas, mangroves, tidal and freshwater swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest, alpine tundra, and equatorial glaciers. At 4884 metres, Puncak Jaya (formerly Carstensz Pyramid) is the tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes.

Birdlife International has called Lorentz Park “probably the single most important reserve in New Guinea”. It contains five of World Wildlife Fund's "Global 200" ecoregions: Southern New Guinea Lowland Forests; New Guinea Montane Forests; New Guinea Central Range Subalpine Grasslands; New Guinea Mangroves; and New Guinea Rivers and Streams.

Lorentz Park contains many unmapped and unexplored areas, and is certain to contain many species of plants and animals as yet unknown to Western science. Local communities' ethnobotanical and ethnozoological knowledge of the Lorentz biota is also very poorly documented.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 8:03 on Jun 29, 16 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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