Forum: Dover Forest isn't just another little patch of woodland

There has been an almighty effort by the Nature Society Singapore and fellow nature lovers of Singapore to protect Dover Forest from being converted to residential use.

The Government has responded with a public consultation exercise and a parliamentary hearing - ecologically enlightened bits of democratic action and counter-response - which is something to celebrate.

I encourage everyone to read Nature Society Singapore's detailed feedback on the Housing Board environmental report, found on its website, for there are some remarkable things about this little patch of woodland that it is fighting to save.

There exists a beautiful bird, the straw-headed bulbul. About a third of its world population now lives in Singapore, for we are its sole point of refuge in Asia, due to poaching for the songbird trade.

This is a proper forest with fierce-looking and rare raptors like the changeable hawk eagle and buffy fish owl.

There are other beautiful rare creatures that tantalise, often unseen, in this luxuriant mature secondary forest 60 years in the making from its early rubber plantation and settlement days.

The HDB study found that Dover Forest is home to about 160 animal species and 120 plant species.

It is tiny but extravagant because it is part of an important chain of greenery along the Sungei Ulu Pandan green corridor.

Discussions about trade-offs between developmental needs, climate change, recreational use and other matters will determine the fate of Dover Forest.

It is already a marker in the evolution of Singapore as an ecologically thinking community.

Vengadesh Krishna Kumar

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