Forum: Think twice before clearing forests

A man rides a bicycle on a dirt road surrounded by greenery.
A man rides a bicycle on a dirt road surrounded by greenery.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

I read with concern how Singapore has gone from being a carbon absorber to an emitter due to the clearing of forests (Study details how land use is linked to climate change, Oct 8).

The benefits of conserving the forested areas go beyond mere aesthetics and the preservation of wildlife. The forests serve as Singapore's carbon sinks, and are crucial in maintaining the quality of the environment.

In addition, Associate Professor L. Roman Carrasco from the National University of Singapore's Department of Biological Sciences was quoted as saying: "Compared with cutting the forest and planting new trees, keeping mature forests is a much more effective way to prevent climate change."

Yet, our forests and large tracts of vegetated areas have been cleared at an alarming rate in recent years.

Some examples include the forested areas in Lentor, Seletar, Punggol, Thomson Road, Bukit Batok and Tengah, ironically being billed as a "forest town".

Even the central catchment area has not been spared as MRT soil investigation works literally poked holes in the nature reserve, including its primary forest.

I hope our urban planners will take heed of the adverse effects that can be brought upon our environment by carbon emissions and global warming, and think twice before rapidly clearing our limited forested areas, sometimes only to leave them empty for years, pending development.

Edwin Pang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2019, with the headline 'Think twice before clearing forests'. Print Edition | Subscribe