Not all bird species on the island of New Guinea are birds-of-paradise. National Geographic photographer Tim Laman happened upon these Ornate Fruit-Doves nestled in a fig tree during an expedition into the Arfak Mountains in the Bird’s Head peninsula of West Papua.
In 2024, Laman and Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Edwin Scholes are partnering with local and indigenous groups in Indonesia on a campaign to protect this area called the Crown Jewel of Papua, forest home of the birds-of-paradise and more than 600 other bird species. According to Scholes, the Crown Jewel is part of the world’s third-largest intact tropical forest ecosystem (after the Amazon and Congo), and a crucial carbon storehouse for mitigating climate change.
“What happens to the intact Indo-Pacific forests between now and 2030 will not only determine the future of the people and wildlife species in New Guinea,” says Scholes, “it will determine the future for all of us on planet Earth.”
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