New Arboretum of Giant Trees Launched at Southern Ridges
21 Apr 2010
Sembcorp Industries donates $1 million to the Garden City Fund to set up a living gallery of giant tree species which are threatened in the region, and fund green educational programmes to benefit the community
Visitors to the Southern Ridges can now learn more about a special collection of giant trees native to the region. Named the Sembcorp Forest of Giants in appreciation of a sponsorship of S$1 million from Sembcorp Industries, the arboretum - a living gallery of trees for education and research is part of the National Parks Board's (NParks) initiative to enhance biodiversity within urban areas.
The Sembcorp Forest of Giants collection comprises over 600 trees that originally dominated our regional landscape before the advent of urbanisation. Also known as emergents - large trees that grow above the forest canopy - some of the 55 species selected for the collection can attain heights of over 80m in the wild. As these giant tree species can take more than 50 years to mature and reach such great heights, NParks has also planted a visually striking collection of trees with large leaves.
As the number of giant trees has dwindled within the region, the Sembcorp Forest of Giants will enable park visitors to view and experience firsthand, rare and majestic reminders of the biodiversity which once thrived in our regional landscape. Researchers will be able to better identify suitable species for future urban planting along our roads and in our parks.
Speaking at the launch event held today at Telok Blangah Hill Park, Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan explained, "Biodiversity conservation is an important part of the Government's plan to develop Singapore in a sustainable manner. If we do not make an effort to conserve what we have today, we will lose our rich natural heritage over time. Today, we are enriching our biodiversity and boosting our conservation efforts by launching the Sembcorp Forest of Giants."
The Sembcorp Forest of Giants is sponsored by a commitment of S$1 million over five years from Sembcorp Industries, through the Garden City Fund, NParks' registered charity and IPC. Sembcorp is a leading player in the provision of energy, water and sustainable urban solutions and one of Singapore's largest listed companies.
Its support will be used to fund the planting of the giant trees, as well as outreach programmes to promote awareness and enjoyment of the Forest amongst Singaporeans. Part of Sembcorp's contribution will also be used to establish the Sembcorp Education and Conservation Fund, which will support deserving projects under the auspices of the Garden City Fund.
Said Mr Tang Kin Fei, Sembcorp Industries' Group President & CEO, "Sembcorp is very proud to support this project.At Sembcorp, we demonstrate a strong commitment to environmental responsibility. Our businesses apply technology to produce energy in greener ways, create innovative solutions for clean, sustainable water and recover precious resources from waste. The creation of the Sembcorp Forest of Giants and the Sembcorp Education and Conservation Fund is very much in line with this commitment, as well as our goal to contribute positively to local communities where we operate."
Said Prof Leo Tan, Chairman, Garden City Fund, "We are very heartened and encouraged by Sembcorp's generous donation. Apart from setting up the Sembcorp Forest of Giants, it will be used to help connect the community to our natural heritage, and share the message of why conservation is even more important in today's society. I hope that more companies will follow Sembcorp's lead, and focus on greenery as part of their corporate social responsibilities. Work with us to create a City in a Garden, one that we would be proud to share with our current and future generations."
Comprising a 9-kilometre chain of green spaces spanning the rolling hills of Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park, the Southern Ridges was chosen to showcase the Sembcorp Forest of Giants due to the presence of healthy secondary forest vegetation on a hilly terrain. Having this Forest here presents future generations of park visitors with the unique opportunity of viewing the giant trees from vantage points along Henderson Waves as they rise from the forest canopy.
Park visitors can also stroll along two loops in Telok Blangah Hill Park to view the trees and learn more about them. Some of the species featured in the loops include the Tualang (Koompassia excelsa), which can reach a towering height of over 80 metres, Kempas (Koompassia malaccensis), Jelutong (Dyera costulata) and Kapur Paji (Dryobalanops lanceolata).
To commemorate the launch of Sembcorp Forest of Giants, Minister Mah will seal a time capsule of items significant to this project. Some of these items include a list of people involved in the project, the planting plan, artist impressions, digital photographs, and news articles. The time capsule will remain sealed for the next 50 years.
The launch of Sembcorp Forest of Giants is a key event in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). NParks has lined up an exciting series of activities throughout the year to raise public awareness of the rich biodiversity in Singapore. For updates on other IYB activities, members of the public can visit www.nparks.gov.sg/IYB2010.