Nature Ways are routes planted with specific trees and shrubs to facilitate the movement of animals like birds and butterflies between two green spaces. These routes also connect areas of high biodiversity to urban communities, creates immediate habitats and bring nature closer to Singapore residents. Besides enhancing the living environment, these green corridors help create a greater appreciation of the rich biodiversity in our City in Nature.
Nature Ways are designed to replicate the natural structure of forests as far as possible. Trees, shrubs and groundcover are planted along the streetscape to re-create habitats similar to those found in natural forests. Greenery along these routes are also enriched with flowering plants which attract butterflies and support their breeding.
The Nature Ways are planned to include four important layers:
Emergent layer - rainforest trees such as Dipterocarps. When fully matured, these trees provide food for canopy-dwelling insectivorous birds, and nesting sites for eagles and raptors.
Canopy layer - existing roadside trees. These trees provide shelter and food for insectivorous as well as nectar-loving birds and butterfly species, as some of these trees are flowering species such as Cassia fistula and Tabebuia rosea.
Understorey layer - smaller fruit-bearing trees. These trees produce small berries that are food source for frugivorous or fruit-loving birds. Some of these trees are also host plants for butterflies.
Shrub layer - comprising flowering shrubs that provide nectar for butterflies and some nectar-loving birds. Some of these shrubs are also host plants for various species of butterflies. This layer also provides a habitat for the insects and spiders that birds feed on. As most of these shrubs are colourful flowering species, and because of the wildlife they attract, this layer would also provide a visual treat to pedestrians and road users.
Currently, there are 37 Nature Ways in Singapore, stretching 130km in total. They connect areas of high biodiversity, such as the Western Catchment (SAFTI Live Firing Area), Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. By 2030, NParks aims to increase this to 300km.
One key component of the City in Nature vision is the introduction of more naturalistic landscapes which attracts biodiversity, encourages ecological connectivity and enhances sustainability. The rewilding process is one way to achieve this. NParks has been experimenting with rewilding for many years. This includes habitat enhancement and restoration in our parks, and implementing Nature Ways, which are multi-tiered planting that resemble the natural structure of forests along our roadsides and other green spaces. Greenery in selected areas (such as Coney Island Park, Tampines Eco Green, and Jurong Lake Gardens), Nature Ways (such as Tanglin and Yishun-Mandai Nature Ways), and some slopes along expressways were allowed to establish naturally. Biodiversity attracting shrubs replaced typical groundcover like grass and were judiciously maintained. This not only reduced the need for regular grasscutting, it also enabled biodiversity to thrive as landscapes become more natural.
The Rewilding Plan will be rolled out progressively at 32 stretches of Nature Ways, and various other habitat areas in parks and green spaces over the next three years. Upcoming rewilding sites include those along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Kheam Hock Road, Old Choa Chu Kang Road, and Upper Thomson Road, and in parks such as Bedok Reservoir Park and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.