NParks announces National Citizen Science Programmes to encourage stewardship of biodiversity and participation in biodiversity monitoring
16 Apr 2015
Learn about local biodiversity such as garden birds, and help to collect data that will
contribute to management of Singapore’s biodiversity
16 April 2015 - Today, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee announced several national citizen science programmes that NParks hopes will encourage stewardship of biodiversity amongst Singaporeans. The citizen science programmes will involve members of the public learning about interesting animals like garden birds and butterflies, and helping to monitor their distribution and population. New initiatives include the NParks Garden Bird Count, NParks Butterfly Count and BioBlitzes (Please see Factsheet 1 for details on NParks’ National Citizen Science Programmes).
Facilitating ease of data collection and helping to make sense of the information collected, the new SGBioAtlas app (download via iTunes or Google Play) was also launched this morning. The app will allow users to easily record and identify biodiversity sightings which will contribute towards an existing online database that documents biodiversity occurrences and distributions on a Singapore map. Such collection of large quantities of data will not be achievable through the efforts of experts alone. This will enable NParks to monitor biodiversity populations and habitats, and better develop site management strategies to conserve biodiversity (Please see Factsheet 2 for details on the SGBioAtlas app).
The programmes were announced at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park early this morning, where MOS Lee was present in the early morning and joined more than 400 participants, who will spread out across 60 locations islandwide over the next 10 days to record bird sightings on the SGBioAtlas app for the first NParks Garden Bird Count. Participants of the count comprise students, green groups, and interested members of the public.
This first count will provide baseline data on the distribution of 30 species of garden birds in Singapore. The NParks Garden Bird Count will take place twice a year, with the next one planned for November 2015. Data collected from subsequent counts will help NParks in establishing population trends in the long run.
Said MOS Lee of the new initiatives “These citizen science programmes are important bridges to reach out to our community and engage more people in NParks’ efforts to manage, conserve and strengthen biodiversity in Singapore. What you are doing today – the recording and sharing of data – adds to the many initiatives that we have ongoing now. Community stewardship and participation in such programmes are crucial for Singapore to sustain our vision of a City in a Garden.”
Ongoing initiatives include research and planning to understand and conserve biodiversity in Singapore’s urban environment better. The recently announced Bukit Timah Nature Reserve survey and the creation of buffer parks like Windsor and Springleaf Nature Parks to conserve core areas rich in biodiversity are some examples.
Singapore is rich in biodiversity and is home to some 2145 native vascular plants, 78 mammals species, 384 bird species, 320 butterfly species, 141 reptile species, 30 different amphibian species, 131 dragonfly species, and 87 freshwater fish species. The collective effort of enriching biodiversity in our urban environment, and engaging and inspiring communities to co-create a greener country will make our vision of Singapore as a City in a Garden a reality.
Factsheet: NParks’ National Citizen Science Programmes
Factsheet: NParks' Biodiversity Databases and SBGBioAtlas app