PAPUA NEW GUINEA BIODIVERSITY UNDER THREAT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 16, 1998 - The National)---Papua New Guinea's rich biodiversity is under immediate threat from unmanaged development logging, mining, agriculture and destructive methods.

According to Conservation International (CI), PNG is the largest and most diverse country in Melanesia and possesses the largest expanses of tropical rain forest, fresh water wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs that are still intact.

Speaking at the launching of the book, "Megadiversity: Earth's Biologically Wealthiest Nations," Director of Conservation International's PNG Program, Gaikovina Kula, said that PNG is among the 17 megadiversity countries which collectively claim within their borders more than two-thirds of the Earth's biological resources.

The 500-page book was launched by the principal author, Dr. Russel Mittermeier, at the Botanical Gardens in Port Moresby yesterday.

The book presents the 17 countries in which the greatest part of that megadiversity is concentrated. Their territories are home to between 60-80 percent of life on earth.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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