Singapore's First Dipterocarp Arboretum at Yishun Park
10 Jul 2008
Singapore, 10 July 2008 - Visitors to Yishun Park can now learn more about a unique family of rainforest trees with Singapore's first Dipterocarp Arboretum planted there. A living gallery of trees for education and research, this Arboretum is part of the National Parks Board's (NParks) initiative to enhance biodiversity within urban areas, in partnership with Banyan Tree Holdings Limited.
Dipterocarp means "two-winged fruit" and this name is derived from the two- to five-winged fruits that this family of trees produces. With a great diversity of leaf forms and some 500 species existing in our region, Dipterocarps (also known as forest giants) are iconic trees that constitute the backbone of Indo-Malayan rainforests and is unique to this region. They can live up to 1,000 years old, grow up to 80metres, and are commonly used for timber. However, many of these forests in the region have diminished over the years.
The Dipterocarp Arboretum showcases more than 800 trees of over 70 species. It is designed to help visitors learn more about the unique features of the Dipterocarps and witness the growth of the young saplings into tall majestic trees over many years. The different groups of Dipterocarps featured here are Dipterocarpus, Shorea, Hopea (these being the 3 main groups), and Anisoptera, Dryobalanops, Neobalanocarpus, Parashorea, Vatica.
Developed in 1991, the 14-hectare Yishun Park was selected as the home for the Arboretum as its range of topography and soil conditions are suitable for the growing of various species of Dipterocarps. Planting for the Arboretum started in June last year and was recently completed in June this year. Some of the species planted include Dipterocarpus grandiflorus (Keruing belimbing), Hopea helferi (Giam Lintah Bukit), Neobalanocarpus heimii (Chengal), and Shorea sumatrana (Senkawang)
On the research benefits of the project, S K Ganesan, Assistant Director of Streetscape at NParks, said: "This Arboretum will enable us to study the development of the different tree species within the Dipterocarp family as they mature. We will collect herbarium specimens of the trees at different stages of their growth, and record the variations in their development. This will not only help us to identify suitable species for future urban planting along our roads and in our parks, but also enable better identification of the young trees in this family by researchers internationally."
The Yishun Park Dipterocarp Arboretum project is made possible by Banyan Tree. The sponsorship of S$160,000 goes towards the costs of implementing the project, installing educational signage, and organising educational programmes for the public. These include guided walks and tree hunts that are targeted to start next year.
Ms. Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President, Banyan Tree Holdings Limited, said: "As part of its intrinsic belief that businesses must create value for communities while creating value for shareholders, Banyan Tree is delighted to support the first Dipterocarp Arboretum in Singapore. Our commitment stems from our company's founding roots in Singapore, where we hope to preserve our indigenous and valuable natural resource for the education and enjoyment of every member of the public."
In 2007, Banyan Tree launched its 10-year Greening Communities worldwide programme, as part of its commitment to long-term sustainable change and development. In addition, Banyan Tree also supports education, health and community initiatives through a variety of mechanisms including the Green Imperative Fund (GIF), Seedlings programme targeting young people at risk, and conservation efforts via resort-based research and education facilities throughout the world where Banyan Tree properties are based.