Mangrove forests are possibly the world’s most productive type of wetland, providing food, fibre and medicine to people from developing countries in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. Mangroves also physically protect coastlines by breaking the sea waves during storm surges and help shield seagrass beds and coral reefs from the effects of siltation. In addition, the mangrove ecosystem is a source of food and a nursery ground for a number of fish species that are important to local fisheries.
Support our conservation efforts in preserving Singapore’s mangrove forests. Mangroves in Singapore are under threat due to the pressures exerted on the habitat from urbanisation and human population growth. Today, less than five per cent of the original mangrove forests habitat in the early 1800s remains. The largest patch of mangrove area in mainland Singapore, found in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, only covers an estimated total land area of 100 hectares. This marshland is under legal protection and is also recognised as a site of international importance for migratory birds.
Research collaborations with institutions are also regularly carried out to increase our existing knowledge and enable better protection over these vulnerable mangrove areas in Singapore. Past research topics include “Mangrove Insects as Indicators of Habitat Quality”, “Mangrove Propagule Dispersal in Singapore’s Waters and the Broader Thai-Malay Peninsula”, “Integrated Risk Assessment of Chemical Contaminants in Mangrove Ecosystems” and “Impacts of Marine Navigation on Mangroves in Coastal Waters of Singapore”.
Nature-based solutions for coastal protection (Kranji Coastal Nature Park)
The National Parks Board (NParks) leverages nature-based solutions to protect and restore coastal areas. Since the implementation of a coastal protection and mangrove restoration project in 2010 at Pulau Tekong, NParks has continued to explore nature-based solutions to build the resilience of Singapore coasts against the effects of climate change, with a recently completed project featuring a 0.49 hectare coastal belt at Kranji Coastal Nature Park.
The nature-based solutions implemented for Kranji Coastal Nature Park are customised to its unique site characteristics and environmental factors and exemplify the various strategies under City in Nature that build climate resilience - namely greening, flood resilient design, and ecosystems enhancement and restoration.
This project refined the eco-engineering solution implemented earlier at Pulau Tekong in several ways. A key focus was on promoting sediment accretion and natural recruitment of mangroves propagules guided by agent-based modelling conducted by the National Biodiversity Centre. In addition to retaining the original mangroves and planting new coastal areas, a 400m-long low rock revetment was implemented in between these habitats, with a more effective design that slows down wave energy and promotes sediment accretion and natural mangrove regeneration. A vegetation belt was restored that follows the natural zonation from terrestrial forests to coastal and mangrove forests. This will serve to provide additional habitats for biodiversity and a buffer area against rising sea levels and storm surges.
Aerial shot of the dense mangrove forest in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Coastal Protection and Restoration of Mangrove Biodiversity at Pulau Tekong