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History of Biodiversity Conservation in Singapore


The National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) was established on 22 May 2006. The NBRC website also made its debut on this day.


On the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), NParks was designated as Singapore’s National Focal Point.


When SGP2012 was launched, the Conserving Nature Committee was set up to address biodiversity conservation issues.


Two new Nature Reserves, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Labrador Nature Reserve, were gazetted on 1 January 2002.


The ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) designated NParks as the National Biodiversity Reference Unit (NBRU) for Singapore.

Singapore joins ASEANET, a regional Technical Co-operation Network for sustainable development through capacity-building in taxonomy. NParks was appointed as the National Coordinating Institute.


ENV initiated a review of the Singapore Green Plan with the prime objective of updating it for relevancy. NParks was invited to chair the Nature Conservation Review Committee (NCRC).


With the merger of the Parks and Recreation Department and the former NParks in 1996, the new National Parks Board embraced under its administrative umbrella all the other Nature Areas that lie in the parks system.


Singapore ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 21st December 1995. NParks was designated the National Focal Point for Singapore.


Singapore signed the CBD on 10th March 1993. The Singapore Green Plan 1993 was launched by the Ministry of the Environment (ENV). Nineteen nature areas (terrestrial and marine) were recommended in the document.


The Ministry of the Environment (ENV) spearheaded the drafting of the Singapore Green Plan. In June 1992, the Singapore Green Plan was presented at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


National Parks Board (NParks) initiated a 6-year project aimed at surveying the physical and biological aspects of the Nature Reserves. It was a landmark in the history of nature conservation as it amassed valuable data on the biodiversity in the Nature Reserves over a continuous period of time.


NParks was established to plan, develop and manage parks and greenery in Singapore. Bukit Timah and Central Catchment were declared as Nature Reserves. The Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park came under the management of NParks.


Bukit Timah, Kranji and Pandan, together with Labrador Cliff and the Municipal Water Catchment area became legally protected under the Nature Reserves Ordinance 1951, the predecessor of the existing National Parks Act.


H. Tanakadate and K. Koriba, the Japanese Directors of the Gardens during the Second World War, were instrumental in ensuring that the reserves survived the war.


The objectives of the forest reserves explicitly spelt out that the forest reserves were not for commercial exploitation but for "absolute protection to provide areas for research, education, recreation and as samples of the country's biographic history and heritage" and this remained as the guiding policy of nature conservation to present times.


The Forest Department remained under the Gardens' administration until this year when forest matters were officially transferred to the Land Office.


H.N. Ridley was appointed Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.


The first forest reserves in the Straits Settlements were identified and were administered by the newly established Forest Department that came under the Gardens with N. Cantley appointed as the first Director.


When Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore, the island was practically covered with undisturbed vegetation.

Last updated on 15 October 2014

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