Ecologically, the swamp is diverse. The muddy coastal areas are dominated by mangroves and nipah palms. Inland, where the swamp is freshwater, other sorts of vegetation become more common — herbaceous vegetation, grasses, and forest. A significant portion of the swamp is peatland. It is home to a wide variety of animals, including freshwater fish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, crocodiles, sea snakes, and pigeons. Also inhabiting the swamp are large monitor lizards, some longer (although not as heavy) as the more famous Komodo Dragon.
The swamp takes its name from the Asmat people, who inhabit it. The difficult terrain of the swamp meant that the Asmat did not have regular contact with outsiders until the 1950s, and the swamp still remains isolated. The swamp forms part of Indonesia's Lorentz National Park.