Forum: Collective efforts ensure that Singapore plants back what greenery is lost and more

We thank Mr Yeo Chee Kean for his letter, "Look beyond the number of trees planted" (Aug 23).

The OneMillionTrees movement is a key component of efforts by the National Parks Board (NParks) to further extend nature into our urban landscape and redouble our efforts to green Singapore, as we transform into a City in Nature.

Together with the community, our target is to plant one million more trees across Singapore by 2030. The trees planted are selected for hardiness, provision of shade, biodiversity value and suitability to be planted in an urban landscape.

Since the launch of the movement in April 2020, about 400,000 trees have been planted by over 61,000 members of the community, including from more than 500 organisations.

With continuous support from wide segments of the community, and complementary new initiatives like FamilyTrees, we will be able to plant in excess of one million trees by 2030.

The OneMillionTrees movement is not the only avenue for tree planting in Singapore. We take a holistic view in greening our environment.

In development planning, NParks imposes tree planting within the green buffers and peripheral planting areas of developments. We also work with the Housing Board to ensure that new estates have about 45 per cent to 60 per cent of green cover.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises programme is another avenue to ensure greenery is incorporated as part of new developments. While we may lose some greenery to development, and some trees may have to be removed due to plant health and public safety considerations, these collective efforts ensure that we plant back what is lost and more.

Our planting strategy has also evolved over the years. At the start of Singapore's greening journey, the aim was to green up the island as quickly as possible, to provide shade and access to green spaces for all.

The greening strategy then evolved to add colour to our streets, through the planting of flowering trees and shrubs. Now, we are intensifying greenery along our roads with multi-tiered roadside planting of native trees that mimic natural forest structures.

These are known as Nature Ways, and help to mitigate the urban heat island effect, by cooling the environment and providing shade for pedestrians when the trees mature. They also enhance ecological connectivity for our wildlife, such as birds and butterflies, allowing them to move between our green spaces. In the long term, we aim to make every road a Nature Way.

The stretch along Upper Thomson Road mentioned by Mr Yeo was previously affected by the development of the Thomson-East Coast Line. With the completion of works, the stretch has been replanted with multi-tiered naturalistic planting, which includes rain trees and other suitable native species.

We hope Singaporeans will work with us as we transform into a City in Nature and build a more liveable and sustainable home for future generations.

To participate in the OneMillionTrees movement, please visit www.nparks.gov.sg/treessg

Oh Cheow Sheng

Group Director, Streetscape

National Parks Board

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