September 27, 2023
Not all chook species on the island of New Guinea are birds-of-paradise. Nationwide Geographic photographer Tim Laman occurred upon these Ornate Fruit-Doves nestled in a fig tree throughout an expedition into the Arfak Mountains within the Chook’s Head peninsula of West Papua.
In 2024, Laman and Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Edwin Scholes are partnering with native and indigenous teams in Indonesia on a marketing campaign to guard this space known as the Crown Jewel of Papua, forest dwelling of the birds-of-paradise and greater than 600 different chook species. In response to Scholes, the Crown Jewel is a part of the world’s third-largest intact tropical forest ecosystem (after the Amazon and Congo), and an important carbon storehouse for mitigating local weather change.
“What occurs to the intact Indo-Pacific forests between now and 2030 is not going to solely decide the way forward for the individuals and wildlife species in New Guinea,” says Scholes, “it would decide the longer term for all of us on planet Earth.”