Singapore startup seeks to preserve Papua New Guinea biodiversity – in Nikkei Asia

Papua New Guinea Singapore

My latest story in Nikkei Asia is about Ecoshare, a company that uses a lease scheme to support local people and promote conservation in the face of rampant logging and destruction of biodiversity in one of the planet’s last great natural repositories.

A Singapore-based startup is working with people in Papua New Guinea to help them preserve and profit from the country’s unique biodiversity.

The country that occupies the eastern half of New Guinea island boasts some of the world’s largest tropical rainforests and is home to countless unidentified plants. About 85% of the 9 million Papua New Guineans live off agriculture and 40% follow a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle with little or no access to the global economy.

But this way of life is under threat due to poorly regulated harvesting and the export of resources such as wood, gold and copper.

As only 3% of the country is public land, foreign companies must buy or lease private land from local landowners. The government has enshrined landownership in the constitution. In practice, however, surveying and registering land is a time-consuming and costly process. And once families gain ownership, many sell out to logging or mining companies.

Read the full text here.

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