Forum: Protect Singapore's natural green cover

I am heartened that Singapore will be planting one million trees over the next 10 years (Intensifying green drive and getting Singaporeans to be stewards of nature, Sept 14).

I hope, however, that we measure the net increase in the number of trees over this same period. For example, if we cut down 500,000 trees over the next 10 years and plant a million, our net increase would be only half a million trees.

It would be worse if we cut more trees than we plant as we will in fact be depleting our green cover.

What we need to be discussing is not the number of trees that will be planted, but the increase in our green cover.

As we prune trees along major roads such as Orchard Road, I have noticed how much more concrete is now visible compared with a couple of years ago when the roads were shaded in gorgeous hues of green.

Recently, I was heartbroken to see the entire section of the Kampong Trail between MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve boarded up.

It would be unfortunate if old trees are being razed to the ground to make way for a garden when preserving them in all their natural glory would be the best gift we could give ourselves.

I felt the same sense of disappointment when I entered the new Botanic Gardens Gallop Extension.

That side of Tyersall Road used to be lush forest and it must have cost millions of dollars to cut down trees and build the new extension.

I have read about the virtues of the arboretum, but I am not convinced that cutting down existing fully grown trees to build a new "library of trees" makes sense.

Singapore is blessed with rainforests in the city. Perhaps we should find a way to preserve what is left of these rainforests rather than remodel them into more manicured "gardens", which are more artificial in appearance and not uniquely Singapore.

It would be wonderful if the National Parks Board could invite concerned members of the public to consultation sessions for feedback periodically when there are plans to cut down sections of green areas.

Dipa Swaminathan