Forum: Efforts to intensify, safeguard Singapore's greenery

We thank Ms Dipa Swaminathan for her feedback (Protect Singapore's natural green cover, Sept 17).

The National Parks Board (NParks) is building on our earlier efforts in providing pervasive greenery in our urban areas and partnering the community to transform Singapore into a City in Nature.

This involves intensifying greenery using a science-based approach and also safeguarding and extending Singapore's natural capital island wide by restoring habitats and bringing nature back into our urban landscape.

One of the sites mentioned in Ms Dipa's letter was the Gallop Extension of Singapore Botanic Gardens. This area had been cleared several times and land abandonment led to small, degraded spontaneous vegetation dominated by exotic and invasive species. We restored the habitat by replacing these species with native plants and trees to create a more healthy forest ecosystem in the Gardens.

Upcoming facilities will allow us to further our environmental education efforts.

The OCBC Arboretum at Gallop is a first-of-its-kind arboretum for dipterocarp trees,

which are increasingly threatened by deforestation. Plant growth and environmental information collected in the arboretum supports the Gardens' research and conservation work.

The upcoming Rifle Range Nature Park too was an area that had been disturbed by cultivation and became dominated by invasive weeds. To enable the nature park to act as a buffer for the adjacent Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, we invite the community to join us to restore its habitat by removing the weeds and planting native plants and trees. Endangered plant species from the nature reserves propagated by NParks will also be used to enhance our forest habitats.

Over time, the nature park will become mature forest with rich biodiversity and structural complexity similar to that in our nature reserves.

Tan Puay Yok (Dr)

Group Director

Singapore Botanic Gardens

National Parks Board