Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research
The Australian National Herbarium (ANH) primarily has specimens collected from Australia and its territories, but also houses a large collection of specimens from Papua New Guinea. To increase the utility of this PNG resource, all specimens collected from Papuasia are geocoded, but not necessarily at the data entry stage. Geocodes are calculated for Papuasian records at a later stage, by viewing the ANHSIR record, unless being databased from a field note book, where a label will be printed.
Papuasia is a botanical region consisting of a variety of political assemblages:
Expressed geographically, Papuasia consists of the island of New Guinea (PNG in the east and Indonesia in the west), the Bismarck Archipelago (PNG), the Solomon Islands archipelago [PNG (Bougainville Province) in the north and Solomon Islands (the country) in the south], the Aru Islands (Indonesia); and various smaller islands within the conglomerate.
The country Papua New Guinea (eastern half of the island New Guinea) is an amalgamation of the old Australian territory Papua, and the German territory New Guinea. Specimens collected in PNG may have Papua, East New Guinea, Territory of New Guinea (TNG), Territory of Papua and New Guinea, NE New Guinea or just New Guinea recorded on their labels. PNG includes the Admiralty Islands (Manus Province), the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain and New Ireland), Bougainville, and other smaller island archipelagos of Milne Bay Province.
Papua (western half of the island New Guinea) is the current province name for the land parcel previously known as Irian Jaya and West Papua. Specimens collected from Papua province may have West Papua, Irian Jaya, West New Guinea, Division of West New Guinea, Netherlands (Dutch) New Guinea, West Irian or just New Guinea on their labels. Papua province incorporates many small islands adjacent to the island of New Guinea, the main ones being: Yos Sudarso, Biak, Japen, Waigeo and Misool.
The ANH probably only has several dozen specimens from Aru Islands (also Aroe Islands or Kepulauan Aru), Maluku (Moluccas) province, Indonesia.
The main provinces/islands making up the Solomon Islands are: Choisel, New Georgia Islands, Santa Isabel, Malaita, Guadalcanal, San Cristabal (Makira) and Santa Cruz Islands. Whilst the Santa Cruz Islands are politically part of the Solomon Islands, they are not part of the botanical region Papuasia. However, for simplicity and completeness we treat these specimens the same as all other Solomon Island specimens (there are very few of them).
It can be confusing as to which half of the island of New Guinea a specimen has been collected from. The following hints should help decipher the collection country for the majority of specimens:
New Guinea is not a political country. Please do not enter New Guinea in the ANHSIR country field.
For specimens collected from Papua province, enter INDONESIA in the country field, and select PPA from the region code look-up table. If a previous province name is mentioned on the label, please type it verbatim into the locality field. The region code PPA reflects the current province name, and therefore you do not need to include the current name in the locality field.
For specimens collected from PNG, enter PAPUA NEW GUINEA in the country field and select either P if there is no province/district on the label, or the appropriate specific region code where a province/district is mentioned. If an old country name is mentioned, please type it verbatim into the locality field.
Use the appropriate ANHSIR region code for specimens collected from PNG. All currently and formerly recognised PNG regions have a code available in the region code look-up table. Please use these codes where appropriate, to save keystrokes. If you are in doubt about the wording on the label, as to whether or not the code is appropriate, type out the text as it appears on the label, and just select P (PNG - without a specific province/district) from the ANHSIR region code lookup table. PNG regions may be recorded on labels as provinces or districts (district seems to be an older term).
The key thing to remember is to enter the province/district written on the label. PNG provinces/districts have changed names and boundaries over time. Some of the 'provinces' in the ANHSIR region code look up table are 'current', others are not. It is far too complex to work out, from a label, the current province/district. For example, there is an 'old' Southern Highlands Province/District, and a 'new' one. The new one is about half the size of the old one. We are just using the codes as short hand, to reflect what is on the label. Anything that mentions 'sub-district' should not be taken as a region, but anything mentioning Province or District can. Below (under the next heading) is a rough history of how old province/district names correlate with new ones.
As mentioned above, for specimens from Papua province (Indonesia), use the code 'PPA' (initials for Papuasia, Papua). There is also a region code for specimens from the Aru Islands or Kepulauan Aru, 'PAI' (initials for Papuasia, Aru Islands). The herbarium has very few specimens from this island group (there appears to only be ten in ANHSIR at the moment!), but for completeness, I have mentioned it. See if you can remember to use it if you ever get one .
Unfortunately, PNG province boundaries (like the villages) seem to migrate with time, but the following is roughly true:
- Enga Province approximately represents the western half of the old Western Highlands Province.
- The new Western Highlands Province approximately represents the eastern half of the old Western Highlands Province.
- Simbu Province approximately represents the western half of the old Eastern Highlands Province, but also incorporates some of the old Southern Highlands Province.
- The new Eastern Highlands Province approximately represents the eastern half of the old Eastern Highlands Province.
- Sandaun Province (pidgin for sun down it is in the western part of PNG, where the sun sets!) is a newer name for West Sepik Province.
- Simbu Province is the pidgin and newer name for Chimbu Province.
- The early Sepik and New Britain provinces have each been split into an E and W province (East Sepik, West Sepik, East New Britain, West New Britain).
- Oro Province is the newer name for Northern Province.
- North Solomons Province is the newer name for Bougainville Province.
For Papuasia localities, the two most useful resources are:
- Complete PNG Gazetteer a zip file that can be emailed to you, and
- Microsoft Encarta a world atlas that can be installed on your PC,
The following may also be useful:
- Worldwide Directory of Cities and Towns - www.calle.com/world/
- Global Gazetteer www.nima.mil/gns/html/
- On your PC: P-Drive ANH ANH_Resources New Guinea localities New Guinea localities an in house compilation WORD file (a last resort option).