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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Restoration Works - Limited Access To Ensure Public Safety

01 Jun 2014

2 June 2014 Singapore – Public access to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) will be limited for about two years, with effect from 15 September 2014 as the National Parks Board (NParks) carries out repair and restoration works to the slopes, trails and forests in the reserve. NParks will also use the opportunity to upgrade its more than 20-year old visitor centre at the foot of BTNR.  


Over the years, NParks found that there has been an erosion of the slopes and trails as well as the damaging of forests in the Reserve. To ensure public safety, NParks will be embarking on a journey to repair these slopes and trails. The forest habitat will also be restored. 


NParks recognises that the BTNR is well-frequented by members of the public. To minimise inconvenience to visitors during the repair works, NParks will adopt a phased approach.  For the first six months, the entire Reserve will be closed to public as slope stabilisation works are carried out. The Main Road trail leading to the Summit, however, will be reopened to visitors on weekends after six months, while the rest of the reserve remains closed for about another 18 months for rest of the repair works to be completed.


“We seek the understanding of the public for the need to limit access to BTNR so that extensive enhancements can be carried out to stabilise slopes, repair trails, upgrade the Visitor Centre, and restore the forest environment of the Nature Reserve. The slope stabilisations and trail repairs are necessary for public safety. The upgraded Visitor Centre will serve visitors better when reopened.


Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a unique forest within an urban setting. It contains at least 40% of Singapore's native flora and fauna even though it occupies only 0.2% of Singapore’s land area. The Reserve, which was declared an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2011, is home to rare and native species like the Singapore Freshwater Crab (Johora singaporensis), the Colugo (Galeopterus variegates) and the Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus). It is therefore imperative that we also restore its forest environment”, said Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation and Deputy CEO, NParks.


He further shared: “During this period, visitors are encouraged to explore alternative nature areas such as the nearby Zhenghua Nature Park, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Bukit Batok Town Park, as well as Park Connectors in the vicinity. For public safety, please refrain from entering the Reserve when access is restricted.


 The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve safeguards one of the last vestiges of Singapore's primary tropical rainforest in the heart of the island. Much loved and cherished by Singaporeans, it has attracted a large number of visitors since the mid-1990s. Its popularity has ironically contributed to the degradation of parts of the forest environment. Along the many hiking trails that criss-cross the reserve, soil has become increasingly compacted, erosion has become more serious, and tree regeneration has been compromised. Straying from designated trails by some visitors has evidently caused a widening of footpaths into the adjoining forest. More worryingly, a number of new, unauthorised paths have intruded into the forest. If left unchecked, these changes can eventually add up to alter the character of a unique ecosystem that has hitherto allowed an amazingly rich variety of native flora and fauna to thrive in this scientifically significant rainforest.


BTNR is particularly vulnerable because it is small and almost isolated, and may not have the resilience of a large forest to recover itself from the stress of excessive physical degradation. There is therefore an urgent need to repair and rehabilitate its habitats, and give some time for the plants and animals to re-establish themselves, undisturbed. Not only will this help to enhance the experience of future visitors, it will also replenish the threatened biodiversity in BTNR, and ensure that future generations of Singaporeans will continue to enjoy the full splendour of this unique treasure among our natural heritage”, said Mr Joseph Koh, Chairman, Nature Reserves Scientific Advisory Committee (NRSAC).  


Dr Shawn Lum, President of Nature Society (Singapore), said  “The proposed slope stabilisation and trail restoration work will not only benefit public safety and an enhanced visitor experience, but will also be beneficial for the long-term health of Bukit Timah's forest ecosystem. Decreased erosion from slope and trail restoration, better protection of tree roots from boardwalks, and limiting future soil compaction will help tree survival and regeneration. This in turn will provide a more stable environment for the diverse animal life dependent on Bukit Timah's mature and very rich plant community. I look forward to the completion of the proposed infrastructure work, and envision a future where all of us - park management, researchers, reserve visitors, and a supportive public - can all work together as stewards as well as be beneficiaries of Singapore's glorious natural heritage at Bukit Timah.

Media Factsheet - Scope Of Work
Last updated on 06 April 2021

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