Ecological threats include logging-induced deforestation, forest conversion for plantation agriculture (including oil palm), smallholder agricultural conversion, the introduction and potential spread of alien species such as the crab-eating macaque which preys on and competes with indigenous species, the illegal species trade, and water pollution from oil and mining operations.
The island has an estimated 16,000 species of plant, 124 genera of which are endemic. Papua’s known forest fauna includes; marsupials (including possums, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, cuscuses); other mammals (including the endangered long-beaked echidna); bird species such as birds-of-paradise, cassowaries, parrots, and cockatoos; the world’s longest lizards (Papua monitor); and the world’s largest butterflies.
The waterways and wetlands of Papua are also home to salt and freshwater crocodile, tree monitors, flying foxes, osprey, bats and other animals; while the equatorial glacier fields remain largely unexplored.
Protected areas within Papua province include the World Heritage Lorentz National Park, and the Wasur National Park, a Ramsarwetland of international importance.
In February 2006, a team of scientists exploring the Foja Mountains, Sarmi, discovered new species of birds, butterflies, amphibians, and plants, including possibly the largest-flowered species of rhododendron.
for instance, have also been proven to be particularly vulnerable to the influence of ENSO-events (El Niño Southern Oscillation), with restricted rainfall during El Niño warm phases and more abundant rainfall during La Niña cold phases.