BCR 205: Bruce Beehler & Tim Laman, New Guinea

Dr. Bruce Beehler, a renowned author and expert on New Guinea, and award-winning National Geographic photographer Dr. Tim Laman joins BirdCallsRadio to talk about their lastest book and takes us on an unforgettable journey through the natural and cultural wonders of the world’s grandest island. Skillfully combining a wealth of information, a descriptive and story-filled narrative, and more than 200 stunning color photographs, the book unlocks New Guinea’s remarkable secrets like never before.

Rain forest covered mountains of the Sarawaget range, Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. This is the region of the YUS Conservation Area. Photograph ©Tim Laman

Rain forest covered mountains of the Sarawaget range, Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. This is the region of the YUS Conservation Area. Photograph ©Tim Laman. All Rights Reserved.

Lying between the Equator and Australia’s north coast, and surrounded by the richest coral reefs on Earth, New Guinea is the world’s largest, highest, and most environmentally complex tropical island—home to rainforests with showy rhododendrons, strange and colorful orchids, tree-kangaroos, spiny anteaters, ingenious bowerbirds, and spectacular birds of paradise.

Male Blue Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi) in a fruiting tree. Endangered Species (IUCN Red list: VU). Photograph ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.Male Blue Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi) in a fruiting tree. Endangered Species (IUCN Red list: VU). Photograph ©Tim Laman. All Rights Reserved.

New Guinea is also home to more than a thousand traditional human societies, each with its own language and lifestyle, and many of these tribes still live in isolated villages and serve as stewards of the rainforests they inhabit.

Villagers at Payakona Village in a traditional singsing ceremony put on as part of a "compensation". Feathers of multiple species of Birds of Paradise adorn their headdresses, which are famiy heirlooms. Traditional use of feathers such as this continues in New Guinea. ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

Villagers at Payakona Village in a traditional singsing ceremony put on as part of a “compensation”. Feathers of multiple species of Birds of Paradise adorn their headdresses, which are famiy heirlooms. Traditional use of feathers such as this continues in New Guinea. Photograph ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

Human population growth is a major underlying threat that looms on the horizon. When population density is low,  subsistence agriculture an local forest and coastal resource extraction can be environmentally sustainable. With higherpopulationdensity, sustainability disappears.

View of Arfak Mountains across bay from outside town of Manokwari. ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

View of Arfak Mountains across bay from outside town of Manokwari. ©Tim Laman. All Rights Reserved.

Accessible and authoritative, New Guinea provides a comprehensive introduction to the island’s environment, animals, plants, and traditional rainforest cultures. Individual chapters cover the island’s history of exploration; geology; climate and weather; biogeography; plantlife; insects, spiders, and other invertebrates; freshwater fishes; snakes, lizards, and frogs; birdlife; mammals; paleontology; paleoanthropology; cultural and linguistic diversity; surrounding islands and reefs; the pristine forest of the Foja Mountains; village life; and future sustainability.

Long-nosed Tree Frog (Litoria sp nov). New species discovered by Paul Oliver at 1200 m elevation in the Foja Mountains. Photograph ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

Long-nosed Tree Frog (Litoria sp nov). New species discovered by Paul Oliver at 1200 m elevation in the Foja Mountains. Photograph ©Tim Laman.  All Rights Reserved.

Complete with informative illustrations and a large, detailed map, New Guinea offers an enchanting account of the island’s unequalled natural and cultural treasures.

Very low tide reveals the coral reef from above the surface. Exploratory dive trip with Max Amar, Gerry and Mark Allen. Photograph ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

Very low tide reveals the coral reef from above the surface. Exploratory dive trip with Max Amar, Gerry and Mark Allen. Photograph ©Tim Laman.  All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: Thank you to Dr. Tim Laman, Wildlife Photojournalist for the use of the photographs that are solely used for this specific BirdCallsRadio™ & Podcast Article/Post: BCR 205: Bruce Beehler & Tim Laman, New Guinea. Audio of Dawn Chorus, Courtesy of Dr. Bruce Beehler. All Rights Reserved. Audio and Photographs may not be used in any form without written permission from Dr. Tim Laman or Dr. Bruce Beehler. Please respect the wishes of the copyright holders.  Cover photo designed by BirdCallsRadio may also not be used without written permission.

Show Notes:

  • Natural history of New Guinea
  • Documenting the natural history of the region through photography
  • Island’s geographic history
  • Theory of island biogeography
  • Current geography of bird distribution
  • Estimated 10,000 species of moths, photo of collection tray of moths caught in just one might.
  • Broad look at New Guinea bird families and why they are so diverse.
  • bird photos in this book are simply extraordinary.
  • Importance of this region
  • First impressions upon being immersed in this pristine forest
  • What does the future look like for New Guinea?

Mentioned In Episode:

Purchase New Guinea Book & signed copy Click link here Tim Laman

Bruce Beehler

Huon Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) female and joey peer over branch. Endangered species from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Photograph ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

Huon Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) female and joey peer over branch. Endangered species from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Photograph ©Tim Laman All Rights Reserved.

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