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Vegetation Index of Papua, Indonesia’s Rainforests

4.4S 137.4E

February 16th, 2010 Category: Climate Change, Vegetation Index

Papua, Indonesia - February 6th, 2010

Papua, Indonesia - February 6th, 2010

This FAPAR image shows the vegetation index of Papua, the largest province of Indonesia, comprising a majority part of the western half of the island of New Guinea. Most of the province shows good photosynthetic activity (green), with the highest activity (red) visible to the west near the border with the province of West Irian Jaya (West Papua).

A central east-west mountain range dominates the geography of New Guinea, over 1600 km in total length. The western section is around 600 km long and 100 km across. The province contains the highest mountains between the Himalayas and the Andes, rising up to 4884 m high, and ensuring a steady supply of rain from the tropical atmosphere. The tree line is around 4000 m elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers,  although these are melting increasingly, due to a changing climate.

Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both north and west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a hot humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.

The third major habitat feature are the vast southern and northern lowlands. Stretching for hundreds of kilometers, these include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and some of the largest expanses of mangrove forest in the world.

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