At the northwestern tip of New Guinea, mangroves line rivers that wind their way through densely forested islands and capes. Roots sink into the water, providing a home for crabs, shrimp and shellfish, which filter water for snapper and shark. Higher up the riverbanks, deer, boar, birds of paradise and tree kangaroos live among sago palms and old-growth trees.
“No artist can bring to life so many trees. No one can create a river or plant mangroves as beautiful as this, with all the creatures that live within,” says Yance Nibra, head of Segun district in the Sorong regency of West Papua province, Indonesia.
“It’s beautiful, but it won’t be like this soon,” Yance says, as our boat passes a concrete pillar marked with the name of an oil palm company. “We’ve entered the company’s concession area.”