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Guide to the Alpine and Subalpine Flora of Mt Jaya - COMPLETED 2006

The Guide to the Alpine and Subalpine Flora of Mount Jaya project has studied the flora of Mt Jaya, which at 4,884 m is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.

Cover of Alpine and sub-alpine flora of Mount Jaya

A Guide to the Alpine and Sub-Alpine Flora of Mount Jaya

The project was developed to assess plant communities over a transect of 120 km stretching from the southern coast of New Guinea to the permanent glaciers which cap the summit. Access to this remote area was provided by a partnership with Rio Tinto and their involvement with PT-Freeport Indonesia, who operate a copper and gold mine on the mountain.

The flora of New Guinea is the most poorly collected in the world, and this project undertook several large-scale expeditions to the area from 1988 to 2002. These expeditions resulted in approximately 5,000 collections with up to 10 duplicates. A specimen database of the project's collections was added to by a comprehensive search of historical collections, beginning with those of Kloss in 1914 housed in the British Museum (BM), and now includes over 9,000 records. To date, 23 new species and one new genus have been published in an ongoing series of papers dealing with the flora of the region.

The expeditions were organised and staffed primarily by Kew botanists with counterparts from institutions in Indonesia especially Herbarium Bogoriense, Kebun Raya Bogor, and the Biodiversity Centre at Manokwari, as well as botanists from Missouri and Edinburgh who joined the collecting trips.

The alpine and subalpine areas above 3,000 m are being impacted by the mining operations. The guide, which was published in 2006 deals with 710 species,and is an important tool in understanding the vegetation on the mountain and in setting conservation priorities in the highlands of New Guinea. Each species is briefly described and given a preliminary conservation rating. The guide is illustrated with line drawings representing each genus, and a set of colour plates.

Project partners and collaborators

  • IndonesiaHerbarium Bogoriense (BO), Bogor
  • Herbarium Manokwariense (MAN), Biodiversity Study Centre, Universitas Negeri Papua (formerly part of Cenderawasih University), Manokwari
  • Kebun Raya Bogor, Bogor
  • PT-Freeport Indonesia, Jakarta and Tembagapura
  • UKRio Tinto

Project funders

  • IndonesiaPT-Freeport Indonesia
  • UKRio Tinto
  • USAFreeport McMoran

Project team

HerbariumPeter Edwards (retired), Helen Fortune-Hopkins, Robert Johns (retired), Timothy Utteridge