It is heartening to hear about the various efforts invested in the reconstruction of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) to provide a better nature experience to visitors and more comprehensive protection for the flora and fauna in this patch of primary forest ("Bukit Timah reserve reopens after $14m revamp"; Oct 23).
However, in the excitement of the reopening of the nature reserve, there are a few things that we should be mindful of.
The closure of the nature reserve provided temporary relief to the primary rainforest from the pressure exerted by human activities.
Human activities are known to disturb the ecosystem in the forest. In particular, the heavy use of BTNR for recreational purposes could accelerate soil erosion, degrading the quality of the habitat for the resident flora and fauna.
Hence, when we are engaging in activities within the nature reserve, we should be mindful not to stray from the designated trail and create new trails which could disturb the regeneration of the forest.
Furthermore, we should also avoid making excessive noise, as noise pollution can greatly affect the activities of the animals.
In fact, noise generated by human activities can have profound effects on wildlife, including impairing animals' ability to detect important environmental cues and animal signals, such as the encroachment of predators.
Lastly, it is imperative that we do not leave any litter in the nature reserve. The irresponsible discarding of items such as sweet wrappers could have a disproportionate effect on the ecosystem, as animals might pick up such litter and consume it. This could adversely affect the health of these animals.
It is definitely in our interest to exercise responsible usage of the BTNR and protect the natural heritage from degradation due to our activities.
Tan Rou Ming