Record number of over 1,000 individuals participated in NParks Citizen Science programmes in the last two years
25 Mar 2017
25 March 2017 – A record number of over 1,000 volunteers have participated in NParks citizen science programmes in the last two years since April 2015. These NParks Community in Nature (CIN) Biodiversity Watch programmes include three Garden Bird Watch, two Butterfly Watch and three BioBlitzes. (See Factsheet A for dates and listings of key citizen science programmes)
These over 1,000 citizen scientists have been trained to identify common garden birds and butterflies. Some have also assisted researchers to identify and document 265 species of flora and fauna in Pasir Ris Park.
A total of 152 bird species were spotted by citizen scientists during the three Garden Bird Watch sessions conducted across 61 parks and nature areas in Singapore. Among them, 110 species were spotted in urban parks such as Yishun Park, Punggol Park and Choa Chu Kang Park. Some of the less common birds spotted during these sessions include the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Spotted Wood Owl and critically endangered White-rumped Shama. (See Factsheet A for details on some of the rare birds spotted)
These preliminary findings show that Singapore’s urban parks are home to a wide variety of birds, and people in Singapore can encounter and appreciate our native biodiversity in nearby parks.
In the same vein, citizen scientists spotted 77 species of butterflies in 45 parks. These are among the 324 species of butterflies that call Singapore home. Some of the rare butterfly species spotted during the surveys included the Cornelian, Narrow Spark, and Common Evening Brown. This represents the first comprehensive survey of butterflies across Singapore involving the community, culminating in new information on butterfly abundance. (See Factsheet A for more details)
Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee shared these results today after joining participants in a dragonfly survey held as part of NParks Community in Nature (CIN) BioBlitz event at Kent Ridge Park. The programme involved members of the public who joined some 30 naturalists and researchers to document nocturnal and diurnal species within the park.
The NParks CIN Biodiversity Watch series was set up to encourage stewardship of biodiversity among Singaporeans, as the collection of such large quantities of data would not be achievable through the efforts of experts alone. This data will enable NParks to monitor biodiversity populations and habitats, and develop site management strategies to conserve biodiversity.
Preliminary findings from the data collected show that larger parks generally support a wider variety of habitats, and therefore a larger diversity of bird and butterfly species. The presence of diverse habitats allow bird and butterfly species with different habitat preferences to thrive.
For example, a park that contains water bodies and grasslands will be more likely to support birds such as herons and munias, as these birds are adapted to these respective habitats. This is also the case for butterflies, as larger parks generally contain a wider range of environmental conditions that support different host plant species and the butterflies which depend on them.
At the event, SMS Lee also announced Singapore’s plans to celebrate its biological diversity in 2017. Starting with Biodiversity Week in May 2017, NParks will be organising a suite of events and activities to encourage the public to explore and encounter nature in Singapore. (See Factsheet B for more details)
A new citizen science programme, the Dragonfly Watch, was also announced today, complementing NParks’ current citizen science programmes – the Garden Bird Watch and Butterfly Watch programmes, and BioBlitz.
About National Parks Board (NParks)
National Parks Board (NParks) is responsible for providing and enhancing the greenery of our City in a Garden. Beyond building green infrastructure, NParks is actively engaging the community to enhance the quality of our living environment.
NParks manages 350 parks and 300 km of park connectors, 3,347 hectares of nature reserves and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. We also manage Pulau Ubin and the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. Adding to this is the extensive streetscape, or roadside greenery, that forms the backbone of our City in a Garden. The island-wide Park Connector Network is also being developed to link major parks, nature areas and residential estates.
As the lead agency on biodiversity conservation, NParks has developed an urban biodiversity conservation model, which aims to conserve representative eco-systems in land-scarce Singapore. NParks also monitors and coordinates measures to enhance the presence of biodiversity in our urban landscape.
NParks is working closely with partners in the landscape and horticulture industry to increase productivity, and provide training for all levels of the workforce. Enhancing competencies of the industry will support Singapore’s vision of being a City in a Garden.
For more information, visit www.nparks.gov.sg and www.facebook.com/nparksbuzz.