Papua New Guinea rainforests are among the most biodiverse on Earth. They still cover extensive areas but are being altered at a rapid rate. Their biodiversity is still largely unexplored especially in the treetops, called the canopy.
For exploring the canopy biodiversity, new tools based on hot air or helium balloons are being developed. They allow to collect in situ plants and insects. Ants reign in the canopy. They are sometimes found living inside extraordinary epiphytes which adapted their structure to accommodate the ants.
For protecting native rainforests an innovative approach, linking biodiversity research and capacity building, is implemented. Gifted naturalists, called parataxonomists and paraecologists, are recruited in villages and trained by internationally-renowned scientists. Research stations create local employment. This source of income added to money from sponsors allow local communities to obtain access to a higher level of education and health care without having to give in to the pressure related to deforestation.