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^Varirata National Park is PNGs first protected area, declared in 1969 (©Biatus Bito).

Customary landowners, custodians of 97% of land in PNG, recognise many areas of land and sea as “tambu” – areas of special spiritual significance. Customary landownership is therefore integral to PNGs 2.1 million hectares in its 59 protected areas. Protected areas sustain livelihoods, help maintain culture, provide tourism opportunities, store carbon, and protect biodiversity.