Singapore’s Million-Tree Planting Spree: Protecting Nature and Human Residents

Singapore’s Million-Tree Planting Spree: Protecting Nature and Human Residents

Singapore, the beautiful city-state known for its urban development, is taking a bold step to protect its natural heritage. With nearly 90% of its mangrove habitat lost over the past century, the government has embarked on an ambitious reforestation campaign. The recently launched Sungei Buloh Park Network, a 400-hectare park in the northern portion of the island, is just the beginning of Singapore’s commitment to planting one million trees over the next decade.

Important Habitat

The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a key location within the park network, holds significant ecological value. It is home to the smooth-coated otters, which were thought to be locally extinct until their rediscovery in the 1990s. Notably, the critically endangered Eye of the Crocodile tree also resides here, with Singapore being the custodian of 11 of the world’s last remaining 200 trees.

The reserve is a crucial stopover for migratory waterbirds traveling along the East Asian-Australasian flyway. By expanding the protected area through the Sungei Buloh Park Network, Singapore aims to safeguard the biodiversity of multiple habitats, including the Kranji marshes, the Mandai mangrove and mudflat, and the coastal Lim Chu Kang Nature Park. These areas host a diverse range of ecosystems, attracting various bird species such as the gray-headed fish eagle and baya weaver.

The Ecological Impact of Mangroves

Singapore’s mangroves may be small in size but are rich in biodiversity. The country boasts 35 different species of mangrove plants compared to only three in the United States. Dr. Dan Friess, a geography professor at the National University of Singapore, has studied Singapore’s mangroves for over a decade. According to him, “Singapore’s mangroves punch way above their weight.”

Preserving Natural Wonders

Visitors to the Sungei Buloh wetlands can currently explore the area on boardwalks and watchtowers. However, by 2022, the public will have additional opportunities to observe migratory birds from hides near the Mandai mudflat. Additionally, the historic 1910 colonial building at Lim Chua Kang Nature Park will be transformed into an education center. These developments aim to enhance Singaporean’s connection with nature and raise awareness about the importance of conservation.

Helping Ourselves by Helping the Forest

As a city-state with limited land resources, Singapore has faced the challenging task of balancing urban development with nature preservation. The loss of primary forests in the 19th century and subsequent rapid urbanization resulted in the destruction of large areas of mangroves. Singapore’s mangrove forests dwindled from an estimated 63.4 square kilometers to a mere 8.1 square kilometers by 2018, a staggering 87% reduction.

To address this issue, the National Parks Board (NParks) initiated the One Million Trees project in March 2020. The project focuses on restoring both inland and mangrove forests. As of now, over 51,000 trees have been planted. NParks is specifically selecting native coastal and black mangrove tree species for reforestation efforts. The project also includes the creation of therapeutic gardens and aims to ensure that every Singaporean household is within a 10-minute walk from a park.

Greening the City and Mitigating the Heat Island Effect

In addition to preserving biodiversity, Singapore’s tree planting efforts have other benefits. The city hopes that by increasing green spaces, it can combat the “heat island” effect created by concrete and skyscrapers. The temperature difference between downtown areas and less built-up regions can be as high as 7°C. Moreover, mangroves play a vital role in preventing soil erosion, reducing wave impact on the shore, and potentially mitigating the effects of rising sea levels.

Singapore is committed to protecting its natural heritage while creating a greener and more sustainable city. The million-tree planting spree signifies a crucial step towards a future where nature and urban development coexist harmoniously. If you want to learn more about tree planting and conservation, visit Tips Tree Planting – your ultimate guide to fostering a green future.

(All images are sourced from the original article)