Study Names New Guinea As The Island With The Richest Plant Life     

By Stephen M

A study by a team of experts shows that New Guinea is the island with the most plant diversity in the world. The researchers concluded that the island is the richest in plant diversity among its peers.

According to the team, New Guinea has 22 percent more plant species than Borneo and 19 percent more than Madagascar. That aside, some 68 percent of the plants on the island are unique to it. And there are still unidentified plants there, with some estimates ranging between 9,000 to 25,000 vascular plants in New Guinea!

Image courtesy of marcocm/Unsplash

The study

The study was conducted by Prof. Sundue, and three other plant scientists from UVM in collaboration with other international researchers from 56 institutions. The collaboration ultimately led to the first confirmed list of vascular plants in New Guinea and neighboring islands.

After analyzing digital records and various plant collections stored across the world, the scientists identified 13,634 species. However, the researchers discovered that more than a thousand new species are in the New Guinea mountains.

Image courtesy of alexechti/flickr

Professor Sundue, who is an expert on two types of ferns, wishes not to just count and identify plants. Instead, he wishes to know the hotspots of biodiversity in the world…and why they are such havens for nature. According to him, he is trying to address that question for the fern species. Professor Sundue identifies New Guinea as a “black hole” for many plant species including ferns. Since it’s so remote, the only way to study the life there is to travel and collect samples yourself!