New NParks initiatives to strengthen ecological connectivity and encourage community stewardship to further City in Nature vision
27 May 2023
- More species recorded using Eco-Link@BKE
- Measures to strengthen ecological connectivity for native species, including new eco-pedestrian bridge
-New Nature Kakis Network offers public more opportunities for community stewardship
Today, the National Parks Board (NParks) shared that the number of species of fauna recorded on the Eco-Link@BKE has increased between 2018 and 2021, with 31 additional species of fauna recorded on the bridge for the first time in a 2021 survey. In addition, as of 2021, around 100 species of fauna have been recorded on Eco-Link@BKE in total. This reflects that the Eco-Link@BKE, which was completed 10 years ago, has been successful in facilitating wildlife movement between the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. Building on the success of the Eco-Link@BKE and aided by the insights on ecological connectivity from the Ecological Profiling Exercise (EPE) as well as other studies, NParks is taking coordinated actions to strengthen the ecological connectivity between our green spaces. This includes the development of a new dual use eco-pedestrian bridge to facilitate the movement of animals between Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park.
Beyond extending natural capital and strengthening ecological connectivity, nature stewardship by the community is another key pillar in efforts to transform Singapore into a City in Nature. Sixty years after the first nation-wide tree planting exercise was carried out, a ground-up network of nature stewards supported by NParks has been established to encourage more in the community to become stewards of our natural heritage. The Nature Kakis Network comprising Nature Kakis Chapters from different parts of Singapore brings together like-minded people to participate in City in Nature-related initiatives, as well as exchange ideas on how to conserve and steward our natural heritage, as well as care for our community animals.
These announcements were shared at the Festival of Biodiversity hosted by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee and officiated by Guest-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
City in Nature: Conserving and extending Singapore’s natural capital
Eco-Link@BKE survey results
The Eco-Link@BKE was completed in 2013 to reconnect the forests of Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves that were separated by the construction of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) in 1986.It allows wildlife to safely expand their habitat range, genetic pool, and improve their survival chances.
As of 2021, around 100 species of fauna have been recorded on Eco-Link@BKE. This includes 31 additional species of fauna – 14 butterfly species, 13 bird species, three mammal species, and one reptile species – that were recorded on the bridge for the first time between 2018 and 2021. The additional species include bird and butterfly species which are usually found in forested areas within nature reserves, suggesting that the Eco-Link@BKE is a suitable habitat for such forest-dependent species and is effective in helping them move from one area to another. The findings highlight the importance of wildlife crossing aids such as bridges in strengthening connectivity between our green spaces to allow our native biodiversity to thrive.
Strengthening ecological connectivity between our green spaces
The Eco-Link@BKE is an example of a wildlife crossing aid that strengthens ecological connectivity for native species between our green spaces. The aim is to facilitate safer movement of our native species between areas of rich biodiversity, reduce vehicular-wildlife collisions, enhance human-wildlife co-existence, and support wildlife conservation in Singapore. To this end, NParks will be developing a new eco-pedestrian bridge across Upper Bukit Timah Road and will continue working with stakeholders on minimising vehicular-wildlife collisions through the implementation of mitigation measures at identified hotspots. Altogether, these measures will help facilitate safer movement of our native species between green spaces, allow them to thrive by expanding their habitat and genetic pool, so as to increase their long-term resilience. At the same time, the measures will improve the safety of road users near forested areas.
Conservation technology for timely intervention
NParks has been tapping on technology for purposes of biodiversity monitoring and surveys and mitigation of vehicular-wildlife collisions. NParks is now also using technology for rapid response in conservation management. The Forest Fire Detection and Monitoring System, first announced in 2019, has been operationalised in two locations at Bukit Panjang and Ang Mo Kio in February 2023. The technology-based forest risk management system is equipped with cameras that provide continuous monitoring of the over 2,000-hectare forest cover in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. This will facilitate the timely deployment of resources needed for fire-fighting, as well as reduce manpower for patrolling of the nature reserves, especially during dry seasons.
Conservation technology for rainforest biodiversity assessments
At a global level, Singapore is also currently hosting the semi-finals of the international XPRIZE Rainforest competition at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, where teams use autonomous technologies for rapid yet comprehensive rainforest biodiversity assessments. Having a better understanding of rainforest ecosystems and more thorough cataloguing of rainforest biodiversity will support more comprehensive and effective conservation management policies for rainforest ecosystems worldwide, including Singapore.
City in Nature: Fostering community stewardship through active engagement
New Nature Kakis Network provides more opportunities for community involvement
Beyond technology and the creation of ecological linkages, a key pillar of the City in Nature vision is community stewardship.The United Nations designated 22 May as the International Day for BiologicalDiversity (IBD) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. This year’s theme, “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity” is aligned with NParks’ efforts to partner the community in safeguarding our biodiversity. The new Nature Kakis Network aims to encourage greater participation in City in Nature-related initiatives by the wider community, developed by passionate volunteers at the local grassroots level, known as Nature Kakis. These volunteers form Chapters within their constituencies or neighbourhood, to plan and carry out City in Nature-related initiatives for their community. There are now a total of eight established Nature Kakis Chapters, including at Boon Lay, Bukit Gombak, Marymount, Moulmein-Cairnhill, Nee Soon South, Pasir Ris, Punggol and Taman Jurong.
NParks supports the network by sharing knowledge on various topics including nature conservation, human-wildlife matters, local biodiversity, gardening, therapeutic horticulture, greening, and community animals, through trainings and workshops. Seed funding of up to $5,000 from NParks’ registered charity and IPC, the Garden City Fund, will also be provided to each Nature Kakis Chapter to help them kickstart City in Nature-related initiatives and galvanise their community around nature. The formation of the Chapters is also supported by the respective grassroots organisations.
Commemorating 60 years of greening and conservation efforts with the community
This year’s Festival of Biodiversity also commemorates 60 years of greening and celebrates the community’s efforts in conserving our natural heritage. Members of the public can find out more about activities held in commemoration of 60 years of greening Singapore by visitinghttp://www.go.gov.sg/60yearsgreening, and continue to play an active role in transforming Singapore into a City in Nature.
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Information accurate as of 27 May 2023.