New Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network to expand Singapore’s natural capital along our northern coasts as part of efforts to make Singapore a City in Nature
19 Aug 2020
- New Lim Chu Kang Nature Park, together with other nature parks, will provide more recreational opportunities for visitors to the Nature Park Network
- Key thrusts in the City in Nature vision include strengthening ecological resilience and fostering an engaged community through the One Million Trees movement
Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, announced today a new Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network in order to extend Singapore’s natural capital as part of its City in Nature vision. This new Network comprises Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, other important core habitats such as the Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat and Kranji Marshes, nature parks and eco-corridors, and nature areas such as Jalan Gemala and Kranji Reservoir Marshes. Covering over 400 hectares, which is more than triple the size of the Wetland Reserve, it safeguards a variety of complementary wetland habitats, including mangroves, mudflats and freshwater marshes, strengthening the conservation of wetland biodiversity in the northern part of Singapore. With the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network, the public can look forward to more than 15km of trails to explore and experience nature.
The new Nature Park Network will be complemented by the Round-Island-Route (RIR), a major upcoming recreational route, which will connect the various green areas through trails and park connectors. This provides new opportunities for users of the RIR to explore and visit these nature parks, getting closer to lesser-known ecological gems in Singapore.
The western extension to the Wetland Reserve, which encompasses Cashin House, will be conserved as Lim Chu Kang Nature Park. It is an 18-hectare ecological link between the Wetland Reserve and the Lim Chu Kang mangroves. The new nature park also provides more area for nature-based recreation.
Science and research were key in the designation of the areas within the network
The decision to safeguard buffer zones and complementary wetland habitats around the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was determined through extensive research that established the ecological connectivity and complementarity between the sites. For example, the Wetland Reserve and Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat Nature Park are important refuelling sites for migratory shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
Wetland habitats also provide a wide variety of goods and services such as serving as a food source and nursery ground for numerous marine organisms, storing carbon, and mitigating coastal erosion. The conservation of such habitats strengthens the conservation of wetland biodiversity, and play a key role in ensuring the long-term survival of our biodiversity
Studies have shown that a total of 279 species of birds has been recorded in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the surrounding complementary habitats. Conservation of these ecologically inter-dependent areas in the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network will enhance conservation of these birds and the associated ecosystems and processes.
To enhance the shorebird conservation efforts at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, more than three hectares of shorebird feeding and roosting habitat have been restored in the past five years. The habitat enhancement also supports other rare waterbirds such as the Lesser Adjutant and the Great-billed Heron to the wetlands. More than 1,000 trees have also been planted over the past five years as part of the reforestation efforts at Kranji Marshes. The freshwater marshland habitat is home to uncommon birds such as the Red-wattled Lapwing and Black-backed Swamphen.
Lim Chu Kang Nature Park – a new nature area towards the west of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The 18-hectare green corridor that forms a continuous coastal extension west of the Reserve towards the Lim Chu Kang nature area, will be conserved as Lim Chu Kang Nature Park. It comprises a variety of habitats such as mangroves, woodlands, scrublands and grasslands. The diversity of habitats provides homes to coastal birds such as the Grey-headed Fish Eagle and grassland dwellers like the Baya Weaver. The new Nature Park, formerly referred to as Western Extension, will feature outdoor nature-play spaces inspired by the various habitats and its inhabitants, encouraging children and youths to spend more time outdoors and reconnect with nature.
Lim Chu Kang Nature Park will also encompass Cashin House, a building that will be enhanced sensitively for both natural and built heritage and will be used for educational programmes. Cashin House will include new facilities such as an exhibition space, seminar rooms for workshops and a seaview terrace. The surrounding area will be kept rustic and existing vegetation retained and sensitively enhanced. Visitors will be able to enjoy exploring Cashin House and its surroundings while learning about the historical significance of the area.
NParks will shortly be calling a tender for works on Cashin House and its surrounding areas. Works are expected to commence in 4Q 2020, and slated to be completed in early 2022, subject to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
Becoming a City in Nature requires an engaged community – One Million Trees movement
At the Committee of Supply debate earlier this year, plans were announced to transform Singapore into a City in Nature, integrating nature into our city while mitigating the impacts of urbanisation and climate change. Key thrusts in the vision include enlarging Singapore’s natural capital, strengthening ecological resilience and fostering an engaged community. The establishment of the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network adds to the existing Central Nature Park Network that protects the rainforest habitats around and within the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. The two Nature Park Networks enhance Singapore’s natural capital as they safeguard and extend protection for core habitats of biodiversity in Central and Northern Singapore. Nature parks and areas also buffer the Nature Reserves from the impact of urbanisation, while providing more green spaces for all to enjoy. Finally, habitat enhancement of our mangroves and wetlands bolsters Singapore’s resilience against the effects of climate change.
The City in Nature vision is further strengthened by the One Million Trees movement, which aims to ramp up the existing tree-planting efforts from 50,000 trees to 100,000 trees annually, with the community’s support. The movement was symbolically launched by then Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee in April 2020.
Since then, community-led tree-planting efforts have taken place, with safe-distancing measures put in place. To reinvigorate the community tree-planting movement, Minister Desmond Lee, recently planted various coastal and back mangroves species (Palaquium obovatum, Buchanania arborescens, Fagraea auriculata, Sindora wallichii) at Kranji Coastal Nature Park (formerly Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Eastern Extension), together with four members of the community. The trees planted, are representative of the species that will be selected to restore the back mangal and coastal beach habitats of Kranji Coastal Nature Park. NParks will continue to partner the community to enhance the nature park through habitat restoration measures, as part of the One Million Trees movement.
Members of the public who wish to find out more about the One Million Trees movement can visit the TreesSG portal. Besides signing up for upcoming activities such as online webinars, members of the public will be able to register interest and receive updates about the movement through a mailing list. The public can also find out more about urban trees in Singapore as well as share, tag, and upload photos and stories from their tree planting experiences via the interactive online platform. NParks has also developed a suite of social media filters that the public can use to share their experiences of participating in the movement.
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