Orang-utan

The diverse tropical forests of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the nearby archipelagos form the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific. These predominantly evergreen rainforests include mangrove, coastal and swamp forests as well as lowland rainforests.

Other forest types include monsoon and deciduous forests in the drier and more mountainous regions.

Like other ancient forests, the Paradise Forests shelter regions of unusually high biodiversity, including many plants and animals that are found nowhere else.

They support well over 500 species of mammals and more than 1,600 species of birds, not to mention around 30,000 species of higher plants.

These include biological treasures like Indonesia's giant rafflesia flower that can grow up to one metre across, and more than 2,000 species of orchids. Of 43 known species of the exotic bird of paradise, 38 occur in Papua New Guinea alone.

Indonesia's remaining ancient forest is a refuge for the last populations of man's fourth closest relative, the orang-utan, and for the Sumatran and Javan rhinoceros that once roamed across much of Southeast Asia.

The cultural diversity of these forests is as astounding as their natural wonders. In New Guinea alone there are more than 800 languages, one third of all the languages spoken on Earth.

Many of these cultures depend on these forests for their livelihood, and have done so for generations. Their future and the future the forest are intimately linked.

"Generations of my people have said no to logging. We rely on many different bush materials and don't want logging to damage them." Simon Okai, Zongo clan chief, Solomon Islands.

View the Paradise forests slideshow with images by award winning photographer Takeshi Mizukoshi.

For more information visit the Australian Paradise Forests website.

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