New Guinea

a Thriving Country


Although New Guinea struggled with deforestation and frequent natural disasters, it became a thriving country through its advanced and successful agriculture, the New Guineans clever self-beneficial ideas of recycling, and its strong economy.

Background Information

New Guinea is a large island north of Australia and lies almost directly on the equator. Therefore, it has hot tropical rainforest in some areas but valleys and ridges in others. It also has glacier-covered mountains nearly 16,500 feet tall. However, the large population transformed New Guinea into a series of broad open valleys and small patches of trees. The New Guinea highlands were one of the nine independent centers of plant domestication in the world. New Guinea is also one of the world's longest-running experiments in sustainable food production. Despite the largely populated core, the New Guinea highlands consisted of people whom lived in huts, were constantly at war with each other, lacked a king and writing, and had un advanced told made out of stone, wood, and bone. Even though they had a "primitive" appearance to foreigners, they had very advanced agriculture that many European agronomists still don't understand to this day. Overall, New Guinea is a thriving yet small-scale society that is one of the world's great success stories of bottom-up management.

Why New Guinea was Able to Overcome Deforestation

One of the main reasons New Guinea did so well was because of it's advanced and sophisticated agriculture. The habitants of New Guinea were farmers who grew taro, bananas, yams, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, pigs, and chickens. In fact, New Guineans were the first to domesticate taro, bananas, yams, and sugarcane. They also had very advanced farming methods, for example, New Guinean sweet potato gardens are on a steep slope in a wet area with vertical drainage ditches running straight down the slope. They came up with vertical drainage ditches to avoid landslides in heavy I rains which is something the Europeans struggled with frequently. However, New Guinea's agriculture risked soil fertility and deforestation. Considering most of New Guinea's forests have been cleared for gardens and villages. New Guinea needed this wood for building houses and fences, tools and utensils, even weapons. Wood also provided fuel for cooking and heating. Many areas of New Guinea are completely deforested up to an elevation of 8,000 feet. Despite this extreme deforestation, the New Guinea highlands were still getting getting "ironwood," specifically, Casuarina oligodon because they began practicing silviculture; the growing of trees instead of field crops as in conventional agriculture. The people used this certain kind of wood because it grew fast, it's a great wood for fuel and timber, and it's leaf-fall adds nitrogen and carbon to the soil therefore replenishing it. In conclusion, even though New Guinea struggled with deforestation, they found a way to still get the wood they needed, making them a thriving country with an extraordinary agriculture.

How Natural Disasters Benefitted Papua New Guinea

New Guinea has a lot of experience with natural disasters such as 400 inches of rain per year, frequent earthquakes, landslides, and at higher elevations, frost. However, New Guineans have learned to deal with these disasters to save their crops, possibly even benefit them. The New Guineas learned to reuse waste and remains of natural disasters, for example they applied garbage, ash from fires, vegetation cut from fields resting in fallow, rotten logs and chicken manure as fertilizers for their crops. Therefore, the New Guineans learned how to help themselves with natural disasters and trash. They used ash and charcoal from fires or volcanic eruptions from some of New Guineas volcanic islands. One of these islands called Ritter Island actually caused a lot of damage when it collapsed violently into the sea northeast of New Guinea in 1888. This large lateral collapse caused a devastating tsunami tens of meters high to crash onto adjacent shores. However, despite this tragic disaster, New Guinea was able to recover from the damage and continue their sophisticated way of farming. New Guineans always find someway to benefit themselves from disasters like these. They make the most out of what they have and always find clever ways to use debris from natural disasters and regular garbage. Even though New Guinea has struggled with many storms and other disasters, they are still a thriving country because of the ways they learn to recycle trash and use it to benefit themselves and their crops.

Thriving Economy

Farming provides a living for an estimated 85% of the population of New Guinea therefore impacting the economy greatly. Frequently grown crops include yams, sweet potatoes, sugarcane and pineapple, however, there are also commercial crops such as coffee, tea, bananas, coconuts, cassava, and cocoa. Because yams can be stored for long periods of time, they are a very important crop for the small farmer. Although many New Guineans have made livings in farming, mining is Papua New Guinea's main industry. New Guinea holds The Panguna Copper Mine that produces 2% of the world's copper. Also, recent discoveries of oil and natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Papua have sprouted development in the mining industry. Another important industry in Papua New Guinea is tourism. Most tourists who visit New Guinea are there for the warm waters and coral reefs making it a great destination for divers. World War two wreckage can also be viewed in the waters off the country's coast, and many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy whitewater rafting and hiking along the Kokoda Track. Although no particular part of Papua New Guinea's economy is extremely powerful, put together these industries create a thriving economy and a successful country.

Works Cited

Source 1: Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. Print.

Source 2: Baxter, Roberta. Our World: Papua New Guinea, 2010, P1. N.p.: EBSCO Industries, 2014. Iconn. Web. 06 Mar. 2014. <>.

Source 3: Ward, Steven N., and Simon Day. "Earth and Planetary Science." Earth and Planetary Science. University of California Santa Cruz, 9 Apr. 2003. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

This is a reliable source even though it may not be the most current, the event occurred in 1888 so the currency doesn't really matter. This source is reliable because it was published by the University of California Santa Cruz making it a ".edu" source. This source is also non biased because it is based on a natural disaster that occurred, so it must be factual rather than based on opinion.

Source 4:

"GlobalEDGE: Your Source for Global Business Knowledge." GlobalEDGE: Your Source for Global Business Knowledge. Michigan State University, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

This source is reliable, unbiased, and current. This was published in 2012 therefore it's only two years old. This is an authoritative source because it was published by Michigan State University and is fact, not opinion. This is also a ".edu" source so it is published by a reliable school and has no ads on the website.