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The southern lowlands are the site of Lorentz National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The northern lowlands are drained principally by the Mamberamo River and its tributaries on the Indonesian side, and by the Sepik on the PNG side; the more extensive southern lowlands by a larger number of rivers, principally the Digul on the Indonesian side and the Fly on the PNG side.
The island of New Guinea lies to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago.
southern counterpart, Australia, by its much higher rainfall and its active volcanic geology, with its highest point, Puncak Jaya, reaching an elevation of 4,884 m (16,023 ft).
The highest peaks on the island of New Guinea are: Another major habitat feature is the vast southern and northern lowlands.
Stretching for hundreds of kilometres, these include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and some of the largest expanses of mangrove forest in the world.
Politically, the western half of the island comprises two provinces of Indonesia: Papua and West Papua.
The eastern half forms the mainland of the country of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
New Guinea contains many of the world’s ecosystem types: glacial, alpine tundra, savanna, montane and lowland rainforest, mangroves, wetlands, lake and river ecosystems, seagrasses, and some of the richest coral reefs on the planet.
Yet the two land masses share a similar animal fauna, with marsupials, including wallabies and possums, and the egg-laying monotreme, the echidna.
Other than bats and some two dozen indigenous rodent genera, there are no pre-human indigenous placental mammals.
The name Irian, which was originally favored by natives, is now considered to be a name imposed by the authority of Jakarta.
New Guinea is an island to the north of Australia, but south of the equator.
However, the name New Guinea was later used by Westerners starting with the Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez in 1545, referring to the similarities of the indigenous people's appearance with the natives of the Guinea region of Africa.