STATISTICS: Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

65.0% —or about 29,437,000 hectares—of Papua New Guinea is forested. Of this, 85.6% —or roughly 25,211,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Papua New Guinea lost an average of 139,100 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 0.44%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 4.5% to 0.46% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Papua New Guinea lost 6.6% of its forest cover, or around 2,086,000 hectares. Papua New Guinea lost -3,999,000 hectares—0—of its primary forest cover during that time. Deforestation rates of primary cover have decreased 13.7% since the close of the 1990s. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Papua New Guinea lost 5.9% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Papua New Guinea has some 1571 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 25.6% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 7.0% are threatened. Papua New Guinea is home to at least 11544 species of vascular plants. 0.0% of Papua New Guinea is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Papua New Guinea Environmental profile


Papua New Guinea: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)45,286,000
Total Forest Area (ha)29,437,000
Percent Forest Cover65.00%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)25,211,000
Primary Forest, % total forest85.64%
Primary Forest, % total land55.67%
Other wooded land (ha)4,474,000

Papua New Guinea : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Papua New Guinea: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)25,211,00085.6%
Modified natural (ha | %)4,134,00014.0%
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)92,0000.3%
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Papua New Guinea: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)31,523,000
Forest 2000 (ha)30,132,000
Forest 2005 (ha)29,437,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(139,100)-0.44%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(139,000)-0.46%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(2,086,000)-6.62%
Change in rate (%)4.54%
Primary 1990 (ha)29,210,000
Primary 2000 (ha)26,462,000
Primary 2005 (ha)25,211,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(274,800)-0.94%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(250,200)-0.95%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(3,999,000)-13.69%
Change in rate (%)0.50%
Other 1990 (ha)4,474,000
Other 2000 (ha)4,474,000
Other 2005 (ha)4,474,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)63,000
Other 2000 (ha)82,000
Other 2005 (ha)92,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)1,9003.02%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)2,0002.44%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)29,00046.03%
Change in rate (%)-19.13%
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)35,934,000
Other 2000 (ha)34,524,000
Other 2005 (ha)33,819,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(141,000)-0.39%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(141,000)-0.41%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(2,115,000)-5.89%
Change in rate (%)4.08%

Papua New Guinea: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)25,211,000
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)25,211,000
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)55.67%

Papua New Guinea: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)3.1%
Private (%)0.0%
Other (%)96.9%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)3.1%
Private (%)0.0%
Other (%)96.9%
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)24.8%
Protection (%)-
Conservation (%)4.6%
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)4.9%
None of Unknown (%)65.7%

Papua New Guinea: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)-
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)-
Other (ha)-

Papua New Guinea: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20052
World Heritage sites, 20040
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land0.0%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land0.02%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20040.00%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 20040.00%

Papua New Guinea: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species253
endemic species168
threatened species10
total species720
endemic species114
threatened species33
total species260
endemic species63
threatened species58
total species338
endemic species57
threatened species9
Wildlife diversity
total species1571
endemic species402
threatened species110

Papua New Guinea: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species-
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered-
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic0
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened142

Papua New Guinea: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)-
Below-ground biomass (M t)-
Dead wood (M t)-
Total (M t)-
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)-
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)-
Carbon in dead wood (M t)-
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)2,001
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)6,363
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)8,364
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)1
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$6,330,000
Wood fuel (US$)-
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)$6,330,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$n.s.
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed11,000

Papua New Guinea : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Papua New Guinea: Environment
Environment - current issuesrain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Natural hazardsactive volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis

Papua New Guinea: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 0.46%
permanent crops: 1.44%
other: 98.1% (2001)
Natural resourcesgold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries

Papua New Guinea: Economy
Economy - overview:Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the population. Mineral deposits, including oil, copper, and gold, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. The economy has improved over the past three years, following a prolonged period of instability. Former Prime Minister Mekere MORAUTA had tried to restore integrity to state institutions, to stabilize the kina, restore stability to the national budget, to privatize public enterprises where appropriate, and to ensure peace on Bougainville. Australia annually supplies $240 million in aid, which accounts for 20% of the national budget. Challenges face Prime Minister Michael SOMARE, including gaining further investor confidence, continuing efforts to privatize government assets, maintaining the support of members of Parliament, dealing with widespread crime and corruption, and balancing relations with Australia, the former colonial ruler.
GDP - per capita$2,400 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)1.1% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, tea, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, poultry, pork
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 35.2%, industry: 38.3%, services: 26.4% (2005 est.)
Industries copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production; construction, tourism
Economic aid - recipient$400 million (1999 est.)
Debt - external$1.978 billion (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line (%)37% (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 85%, industry NA, services NA

Papua New Guinea: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)5,545,268
Population growth rate (%) (2005)2.26%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)12.2
Percent rural (2003)86.8%
Median age (years)total: 21.09 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)3.96 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian

Largest Cities in Papua New Guinea

Cities and urban areas in Papua New Guinea with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population
Port MoresbyPapua New Guinea312300312300
LaePapua New Guinea105200105200

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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