New Nature Area designated in the Singapore Botanic Gardens
30 May 2015
- Community participates in enhancement efforts at the new Nature Area
- First of three community tree-planting events to be held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore, 30 May 2015 - The National Parks Board (NParks) announced that 14 hectares of the Learning Forest at the Singapore Botanic Gardens has been designated as a Nature Area. This brings the entire Nature Area within the Singapore Botanic Gardens to 20 hectares (including the existing 6 hectares of the Rain Forest). This additional 14 hectares comprises a 10-hectare fragment of secondary forest adjacent to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (known as the Learning Forest), as well as the surrounding forest areas. The new and existing Nature Areas can be seen in the map at Annex A.
The additional 14 hectares will enhance the forest habitat in the Gardens as it forms a contiguous swathe of forest through the heart of the Gardens. This will create more opportunities for the pollination and seed dispersal of native forest trees. It will help in the re-generation of the Rain Forest, strengthen ex situ conservation of plants native to the region and create additional habitats for native wildlife. This will also buffer the Gardens’ Rain Forest and its surroundings from changes in the microclimate due to the urban environment.
Many of the species found in the new Nature Area are native and part of Singapore’s natural heritage. Critically endangered native species like Memecylon cantleyi, are found in both the Rain Forest and Learning Forest, evident of the existing ecological connection across the Gardens’ and the Tyersall area. Both these areas are habitats for representative biodiversity found in Singapore and the region, and are also important reference for the ongoing research work of restorative ecology around the region.
A green space is designated as a Nature Area if it is one with ecological significance. There are currently 24 Nature Areas in Singapore, including the four Nature Reserves and 20 other areas which are retained for as long as development is not needed. The last Nature Areas which were designated in 2013 were Beting Bronok & Pulau Unum in Pulau Tekong as well as Jalan Gemala located near the Kranji Reservoir. Many of the other Nature Areas are situated within parks, such as Bukit Batok Nature Park and Admiralty Park. For the list of Nature Areas in Singapore, please refer to Annex A.
Nature area within Buffer Zone of proposed World Heritage Site
The official Nomination Dossier which the Singapore Botanic Gardens submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in January 2014 details the Gardens’ historical, economic and socio-cultural importance. It also includes a proposed Site Management Plan which demarcates this Buffer Zone and outlines the nation’s long-term commitment towards the Gardens’ protection.
The new Nature Area is situated within the Buffer Zone of the proposed World Heritage Site boundary. This area will be managed for ex-situ conservation and education, activities that are complementary to the proposed World Heritage Site. The expansion of the Nature Area is also part of the Gardens’ Biodiversity Conservation Plan which is a component of the Site Management Plan. Measures to conserve and enhance the Rain Forest and its surroundings fall under this Biodiversity Conservation Plan, and include planting native tree saplings, maintenance of leaf litter to improve moisture levels and regular monitoring activities.
Community contributes to swamp forest habitat enhancement efforts within the new Nature Area
Together with advisors from the Holland-Bukit Timah area and some 130 residents and community gardeners, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee launched the habitat enhancement efforts for the swamp forest habitat at the Learning Forest by planting 100 forest trees near the Canarium Pond. This is the first of three tree-planting events which will involve residents living in the Gardens’ adjoining districts. For a list of participants, please refer to Annex B.
Freshwater swamp forests are home to a wide range of rare flora and fauna. The freshwater swamp has been sensitively designed such that rainwater runoff from the surrounding areas is channelled through a system of bioswales and siltation ponds. The naturally cleaned water is then collected in the Canarium Pond before it is discharged into the freshwater swamp, eventually reaching the Swan Lake, where it would be used to water the plants in the Gardens. When the freshwater swamp is completed in 2016, boardwalks and viewing decks will bring visitors closer to the flora and fauna found in Singapore’s freshwater swamps.
Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said, “All these upcoming developments will truly enhance our Singapore Botanic Gardens. However, what truly makes a City in a Garden come alive are people like us, who activate and further energise these green and community spaces - for example, senior citizens who use our parks to practice taichi in the morning; patient fathers teaching their children to cycle along our park connectors; families who picnic in our parks on weekends; nature lovers who immerse themselves and celebrate our beautiful flora and fauna, or even the newlyweds exchanging vows amidst the lush garden setting of our parks."
Overwhelming response to the Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year Photo Competition organised by NParks
Last September, in celebration of Singapore’s 50th birthday, NParks organised the Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year (SGPY) photo competition where photography enthusiasts can submit photographs of what they think best represents the four themes: “Singapore Botanic Gardens – Celebrating Our Heritage”, “Trees, Forests and Parks”, “People and Nature” and “Our BiodiverCITY”.
NParks received an overwhelming 11,328 entries for the four themes in the Open Category. This has surpassed the entries received for the 2012 “City in a Garden” photo competition, making it the most popular photo competition organised by NParks in the past six years. This includes 1,662 entries for Theme 1 “SBG – Celebrating our Heritage” and 2,290 entries for Theme 2: “Trees, Forests and Parks”.
Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee today presented the top 22 awards to the winners of Themes 1 and 2. The winning photos for these two themes will be displayed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Nassim Gate Visitor Centre from 30 May (after the awards presentation) to 30 June 2015. For more information on SGPY, please refer to Annex C.
This competition is organised by NParks in partnership with the Garden City Fund (GCF) and the Photographic Society of Singapore (PSS). The competition’s presenting sponsor is City Developments Limited (CDL), supported by Nikon and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
Annex A: Map of new Nature Area and existing Nature Area in the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Annex B: Participants of the First Community Tree Planting at Singapore Botanic Gardens
Annex C: ‘Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year’ Photo Competition