Singing Forest Launched to Boost Biodiversity in Urban Areas
05 May 2010
Singapore, 5 May 2010 - Visitors to Southern Ridges will, in time to come, enjoy a wonderful chorus of birds singing at dawn when a new collection of bird-attracting tree species is established. Conceived to create a bird-friendly forest using regional native trees, the Singing Forest is part of the National Parks Board's (NParks) plans to enhance biodiversity within our urban areas. This project is sponsored by STMicroelectronics.
Showcasing trees from 38 native tree species that originally dominated our regional landscape before urbanisation, the Singing Forest project aims to intensify the already high diversity of native bird species in the Southern Ridges. Care has been taken to select the native tree species from four botanical families that will provide a wide variety of suitable food sources as well as shelter and nesting areas for native birds. When established, the additional planting of suitable tree species will eventually provide an opportunity for visitors to learn and appreciate the diverse collection of birds and trees in Singapore.
Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Special Advisor, Institute of Policy Studies and the Patron of the Nature Society of Singapore, was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch of the Singing Forest today at HortPark. He applauded STMicroelectronics and the National Parks Board for this unique initiative. "Although Singapore is a small island and highly urbanised, it is still home to five times the number of species of trees as, for example, a country as large as the United Kingdom. By planting these bird-friendly trees, we will make this forest resonate with the songs of birds. This will bring joy to all who go for walks along the Southern Ridges," remarked Professor Koh.
The trees that have been planted in the Singing Forest will attract the birds in the following phases: Trees belonging to the first phase include members of the mahang tree family (Euphorbiaceae) and the bean family (Leguminosae). These trees fruit soon after planting. Their fruits are small and this would attract both small and large native bird species in the short to medium term. This will provide an immediate effect for the community to see the birth of the Singing Forest.
Trees belonging to the second phase include members of the wild nutmeg family (Myristicaceae) and forest mangosteens (Guttiferae). These trees produce larger fruits, which in turn attract larger birds. such as green pigeons, and hornbills. These trees need more time to grow and bear fruit.
In the long term, the planting of these trees will also help to regenerate the existing forest in the Southern Ridges.
The Singing Forest is made possible by STMicroelectronics, through the Garden City Fund, NParks' registered charity and IPC (Institution of Public Character). The sponsorship goes towards the costs of implementing the tree-planting project, installing educational signage and organising educational programmes for the public.
Dr Mao Bor-Yen, General Manager, Frontend Manufacturing, STMicroelectronics, said, "As a company that is constantly driving conservation efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, STMicroelectronics has for a long time now taken great pride in actively participating in local environmental initiatives. Our partnership with NParks for the Singing Forest project is an opportunity to further enhance Singapore's natural biodiversity. We are proud and delighted that the project will leave a living legacy for generations of Singaporeans to enjoy."
Said Prof Leo Tan, Chairman, Garden City Fund, "The Singing Forest project does not just help to augment and conserve our rich local biodiversity but also connects the community to our nature heritage. Community involvement is key to Singapore's long-term success in conserving our biodiversity. STMicroelectronics' sponsorship has provided an example for other companies to follow and focus on greenery as part of their corporate social responsibilities. We hope this will be one of many collaborations with other corporations to come, as we work towards creating a green city that everyone can appreciate and enjoy."
Comprising a chain of green spaces spanning the hills of Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park, the Southern Ridges was chosen to showcase the Singing Forest due to the presence of birdlife already rich in the area.
The launch of Singing Forest is another 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.