NParks unveils Forest Restoration Action Plan for nature areas
25 Jan 2019
- Forest Restoration Action Plan to be led by the community
- Restoration works for Rifle Range Nature Park commence
The National Parks Board (NParks) unveiled the Forest Restoration Action Plan for the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Nature Park Network today. The Action Plan will chart the restoration that will be undertaken over the next 10 years to regenerate the secondary forests in the Nature Parks buffering the two Nature Reserves, as well as disturbed patches within the Reserves. This will assist the forests to regenerate and approximate a mature forest landscape in time.
The Action Plan seeks to strengthen the resilience of our native rainforests by restoring ecological processes, and enhancing the biodiversity and ecological connectivity in these areas. This will improve the habitats for native biodiversity. It is also timely to assist with the succession of the early secondary rainforests to more mature and diverse rainforests over time. This will strengthen the resilience of our forest landscapes to climate change, and will be achieved through a science-based approach that will involve the sustained planting of native rainforest species.
The approach will comprise the planting of a framework of native species that are nitrogen fixing to naturally improve the soil condition, and those that will attract dispersers and pollinators. The regenerating forest will be assisted further by the removal of invasive weed species. Dominant primary rainforest species, which might be limited by dispersal or are rare in occurrence, will also be introduced. In restoring these forests, efforts will also be directed towards the regeneration of riparian vegetation alongside natural streams to further conserve this sensitive habitat.
The Forest Restoration Action Plan is integral to NParks’ habitat enhancement and restoration programme under its Nature Conservation Masterplan (NCMP). Launched in 2015, the NCMP charts Singapore’s plans for biodiversity conservation.
Forest restoration sites at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve,
Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and Nature Park Network.
Image credit: National Parks Board
Community involvement is another thrust of the NCMP. Hence, more than 250,000 trees and shrubs will be planted across the nature parks and open areas in the nature reserves through efforts spearheaded by the community and facilitated by NParks. Native species to be planted include the nitrogen-fixing plants like the Petai (Parkia speciosa), and Greater Grasshopper Tree (Archidendron clyperia); fruit-bearing trees such as the Common Sterculia (Sterculia parviflora) and the Kumpang (Horsfieldia polyspherula); and pollinator-attracting trees such as the Pulai Penipu Paya (Alstonia angustifolia). These will be planted by nature groups and Friends of the Parks communities such as Friends of Bukit Timah Forest, Friends of Chestnut Nature Park, Friends of Rail Corridor and Friends of TreesSg. Schools in the area, such as Fuchun Secondary School and Nanyang Girls’ High School, will also be involved. In addition, OCBC will be supporting the forest restoration effort by planting one tree for every 50 participants at OCBC Cycle 2019. Organisations that would like to similarly contribute to the forest restoration effort can contact NParks’ registered charity, Garden City Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Restoration works for Rifle Range Nature Park commence
NParks also commenced efforts to restore the habitats at the 67-hectare Rifle Range Nature Park, which will be completed in 2020. The establishment of the nature park as a buffer to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is part of NParks’ holistic conservation approach. The nature park will serve as a green buffer to minimise edge effects on the nature reserve, while reducing visitorship pressure on the nature reserves by providing the public with an alternative node to connect with nature.
The forests in Rifle Range Nature Park will be sensitively restored as part of the Forest Restoration Action Plan. The regenerating secondary rainforests, which serve as a complementary forest habitat to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, will be enhanced with native plants to improve the habitat for native biodiversity in the area.
In addition, NParks will be installing aerial rope bridges across Rifle Range Road to facilitate the safe movement of arboreal animals between Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Rifle Range Nature Park. Such bridges facilitate the effective exchange of genetic materials of native animals, such as Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), thereby increasing their chances of long-term survival. Underground culverts will also be integrated beneath Rifle Range Road to provide safe passage for small terrestrial mammals, such as the Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica). Nest-boxes for the Horsfield’s Flying Squirrel (Lomys horsfieldii) will be set up as part of our habitat enhancement efforts for native biodiversity that reside in the area.
To give visitors an opportunity to learn more about Singapore’s native biodiversity, the former Sin Seng Quarry will be restored as a freshwater habitat. The quarry will be accessible via an elevated walkway that will be sensitively implemented.
To reduce the visitorship pressure on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and provide an alternative venue for the public to connect with nature, NParks will improve the condition of existing trails in the area, such as the Kampung Trail, to arrest soil erosion and compaction. These trails will enable visitors to enjoy nature with minimal impact. Railings will be installed beside the trails to encourage visitors to keep to designated trails and reduce the occurrence of footpaths widening into the surrounding forest. This would also minimise the impact of soil compaction on tree roots and trampling on leaf litter organisms.
The Forest Restoration Action Plan and the detailed restoration plans for Rifle Range Nature Park were unveiled during a tree planting session to mark the start of restoration works for Rifle Range Nature Park.
Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Ms Sim Ann, Advisers for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, and Friends of Parks communities and the community, came together to plant native primary rainforest species such as Hopea ferruginea and Gaharu (Aquilaria malaccensis), and to remove invasive species such as Dioscorea climbers at the upcoming Rifle Range Nature Park site.