An interesting study on Papua New Guinea’s second Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site) designated in 1998. Hopefully, this research will prompt some action on remedial measures for the lake’s ecological character.
This study details the last ∼90 y of impacts on ecosystem dynamics in one of the most biologically diverse, yet poorly understood, tropical wetland ecosystems of the region. The lake is listed as a Ramsar wetland of international importance, yet, since initial European contact in the 1930s and the opening of mineral resource extraction facilities in the 1990s, there has been a dramatic increase in deforestation and an influx of people to the area. Using multiproxy paleoenvironmental records from lake sediments, we show how these anthropogenic impacts have transformed Lake Kutubu. The recent collapse of algal communities represents an ecological tipping point that is likely to have ongoing repercussions for this important wetland’s ecosystems. We argue that the incorporation of an adequate historical perspective into models for wetland management and conservation is critical in understanding how to mitigate the impacts of ecological catastrophes such as biodiversity loss.