NParks announces plans for Upcoming Thomson Nature Park
08 Oct 2016
Latest nature park serves as one of seven green buffers to the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves
Singapore, 08 October 2016 — The National Parks Board (NParks) unveiled plans for Thomson Nature Park today during a site visit by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, Mr Desmond Lee. Located between Old Upper Thomson Road and Upper Thomson Road, the 50 hectare nature park was first announced in 2014 and will complement existing and upcoming nature parks including Springleaf, Chestnut, and Windsor Nature Parks which extend the green buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR). It will also enhance the ecological network for biodiversity with its rich flora and fauna.
This nature park is also unique because of its rich history as a Hainan village, which was well-known for its Rambutan plantation. Trails will be developed to give visitors a chance to experience the heritage highlights within the site. These include a rare glimpse of ruins, including old houses and foundations of the village that used to be located here and some of the relict trees including majestic Ficus trees estimated to be more than 50 years old.
Works in the nature park will commence in early 2017 and be completed by end 2018.
Increase in Ecological Linkage and Green Buffer for CCNR
The development of Thomson Nature Park is part of a holistic approach to strengthen the conservation of the biodiversity in Singapore’s nature reserves. Like other nature parks, Thomson Nature Park will help to reduce visitorship pressure on the nature reserves by providing alternative venues for the public to enjoy nature-related activities. Thomson Nature Park skirts the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and functions as a green buffer and extension for the reserve.
The current site is largely forested and rich in biodiversity. It is home to many rare and locally endangered animals, with sightings of the Porcupine, Pangolin, Samba Deer, Leopard Cat and Straw-headed Bulbul. The freshwater streams are also home to many native aquatic species such as the Spotted Tree Frog which is near threatened on IUCN Red list, as well as the Malayan Box Terrapin.
In particular, this site serves as a key conservation site for the Raffles’ Banded Langur, a subspecies of the Banded Leaf Monkey that can only be found in Singapore and southern Peninsular Malaysia. Reforestation and enrichment plantings over the years have improved the rainforest habitat of these endangered animals. Setting aside buffer areas such as the upcoming Thomson Nature Park will increase the foraging area for the species, which has seen an increase since the 1990s.
As part of the ongoing habitat enhancement efforts to augment NParks’s biodiversity conservation efforts, the existing forest habitat will be sensitively enhanced and planted up with native tree species. Aerial links in the canopy of the forest will also be conserved and enhanced to allow movement by the Raffles’ Banded Langur and other arboreal animals. All existing mature trees will also be conserved.
Thomson Nature Park will also include amenities such as rest shelters with interpretive signage on the rich heritage and biodiversity of the site, toilets, carpark and a trail network that will be sensitively designed following the alignment of the former roads within the site.
The community’s inputs were sought in the development of Thomson Nature Park. Engagement sessions with grassroots, residents as well as nature groups were held to gather feedback and suggestions from the various parties. Such feedback sessions encourage community stewardship and allow park users to have a greater ownership of green spaces.
To mark the occasion, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee planted a Radermachera pinnata at the current site of Thomson Nature Park. Also present were representatives of nature groups, grassroots, students, residents, and key stakeholders.