Lorentz National Park and World Heritage Site
Lorentz National Park and World Heritage Site is, by definition, a globally significant repository of biodiversity. At over 2.5 million hectares ( 6,191,000 acres), Lorentz is the largest protected area in the Asia-Pacific, and the only one in the world to include a full transect of ecosystems spanning marine areas, mangrove, tidal and freshwater swamp forest, terra firme rainforest, montane rainforest, alpine ecosystems, and equatorial glaciers. The tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes , Mt. Jaya (4884 meters), is located inside the park. Lorentz conservatively contains approximately 164 species of mammals, 411 species of birds, over 100 freshwater fishes, tens of thousands of insect species, in addition to thousands of species of vascular plants.
World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Terrestrial Ecoregions Conservation Assessment classified the Greater Lorentz Lowlands into three ecoregions (combined with Priority/Degree of Threat):
- Southern New Guinea Lowland Rainforest (Globally Outstanding/Critical)
- New Guinea Mangroves (Globally Outstanding/Critical)
- Southern New Guinea Freshwater Swamp Forests (Regionally Outstanding/Relatively Intact).
Southern New Guinea Lowland Rainforest, New Guinea Mangroves, and a third freshwater category, New Guinea Rivers and Streams, are classified as three of WWF’s “Global 200” top global conservation priorities.
Birdlife International called Lorentz Park “probably the single most important reserve in New Guinea”, and the Lorentz lowlands were classified as “High Priority”.
Lorentz Park is currently a “paper park” with no guard or park staff whatsoever. WWF is currently working to define and establish the exact park boundaries. IPCA’s integrated approach to biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource management targets the lowland rainforest areas both within and outside Lorentz National Park and World Heritage Site — a diverse region we refer to as the Greater Lorentz Lowlands (GLL). IPCA’s efforts focus on the lowlands because they are the most immediately threatened by legal and illegal commercial logging, fishing, and agricultural conversion, and because they are logistically and politically the most feasible in which to operate.