The flora of Papua New Guinea is rich and varied, with habitats ranging from tidal swamps at sea level to alpine conditions. In low-lying coastal areas, various species of mangroves form the main vegetation, together with the beautiful casuarina, sago, and palm. Most of the country is covered by tropical and savanna rain forest, in which valuable trees such as kwila and cedar are found. Orchids, lilies, ferns, and creepers abound in the rain forests. There are large stands of pine at elevations of 910 to 1,220 m (3,000–4,000 ft). At the highest altitudes, mosses, lichens, and other alpine flora prevail.
Papua New Guinea supports a great diversity of bird life. About 650 breeding species have been recognized. Papua New Guinea is the major center for a number of bird families, particularly the bird of paradise, bower bird, cassowary, kingfisher, and parrot. There are about 222 species of mammals, many nocturnal, of which rodent and marsupial orders predominate. Butterflies of Papua New Guinea are world famous for their size and vivid coloring.