• land-use change;
  • logging impact;
  • Papua New Guinea deforestation rates;
  • remote sensing;
  • tropical forest;
  • tropical forest mapping


Quantifying forest change in the tropics is important because of the role these forests play in the conservation of biodiversity and the global carbon cycle. One of the world's largest remaining areas of tropical forest is located in Papua New Guinea. Here we show that change in its extent and condition has occurred to a greater extent than previously recorded. We assessed deforestation and forest degradation in Papua New Guinea by comparing a land-cover map from 1972 with a land-cover map created from nationwide high-resolution satellite imagery recorded since 2002. In 2002 there were 28,251,967 ha of tropical rain forest. Between 1972 and 2002, a net 15 percent of Papua New Guinea's tropical forests were cleared and 8.8 percent were degraded through logging. The drivers of forest change have been concentrated within the accessible forest estate where a net 36 percent were degraded or deforested through both forestry and nonforestry processes. Since 1972, 13 percent of upper montane forests have also been lost. We estimate that over the period 1990–2002, overall rates of change generally increased and varied between 0.8 and 1.8 percent/yr, while rates in commercially accessible forest have been far higher—having varied between 1.1 and 3.4 percent/yr. These rates are far higher than those reported by the FAO over the same period. We conclude that rapid and substantial forest change has occurred in Papua New Guinea, with the major drivers being logging in the lowland forests and subsistence agriculture throughout the country with comparatively minor contributions from forest fires, plantation establishment, and mining.


Sopos long kisim gutpela save long senis i kamak long tropics em i wanpela bik pela samting long wanem, bikpela bus em wanpela hap we wok konsevason na carbon cycle bai inap kirapim gutpela wok. Insait long olgeta hap long world, PNG em wanpela hap we bikpela bus em i stap yet. Insait long dispela wok mipela soim olsem bikpela senis em i kamap long insait long bikpela bus na long hamas bikpela bus yumi gat. Nogat wanpela kain wok painimaut emi painim dispela senis bipo. Mipela lukluk gut long we olgeta bikpela bus i raus na we bus i kisim bagarap insait long, yia 1972 i kamap inap long yia 2002. Long yia 1972 mipela i usim map ol i kolim land cover map na long yia 2002 mipela lukluk long olgeta PNG high-resolution satellite imagery. Long yia 2002, 28,251,967 hectares bikpela bus i stap insait long Papua New Guinea. Long namel long 1972 igo inap long 2002, Papua New Guinea i lusim 15 percent long algeta bipela bus belong en. Insait long dispela 15 percent, 8.8 percent em i kamap bikos ol lain i katim diwai long salim. As bilong senisim bikela bus emi stap long ples we igat bikpela diwai long katim. Insait long dispela hap yumi lusim 36 percent, sampela we yumi inap long salim, tasol narapela emi bikos yumi rausim bus long wokim gaden or narapela kainkain pasin yumi wokim. Long 1972 i kamap inap long yia 2002, yumi lusim 13 percent long bikpela bus raonim ol bikpela maunten. Mipela painim olsem, long yia 1990 igo inap long yia 2002, long algeta kantri kain senis i wok long kamap bikpla. Senis istap insait long 0.8 igo inap long 1.8 percent long wan wan yia, tasol insait long wan wan liklik hap some pela i kisim bikpela senis, na ol narapela ino tumas. Long ol hap igat gutpela diwai long katim, senis i stat long 1.1 percent igo inap 3.4 percent. Dispela senis em i winim estimates we ol lain FAO i bin tokaut long em bipo. Long dispela wok painimaut, mipela iken tok olsem, as bilong dispela bikpela senis emi kamap long wanem ol i rausim na bagarapim bikpela bus. Dispela asua i kamap taim yumi rausim planti diwai tumas long salim na sampela taim yumi katim bus long wokim garden. Sampela taim bikpela paia tu i save kukim bikpela bus.