Clementi Forest nature trail to be further enhanced, public helps with nature survey

The data collected will help to guide habitat enhancement efforts for the area. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Minister Desmond Lee and volunteer Tay Li Si during a biodiversity survey along Clementi Forest Stream on Aug 27, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Minister Desmond Lee and National Biodiversity Centre senior manager Li Tianjiao setting up a camera trap in Clementi Forest. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Minister Desmond Lee with volunteers during the biodiversity survey along Clementi Forest Stream. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - The next phase of enhancements for an upcoming 2km nature trail within Clementi Forest will be done near sensitive areas along a stream, which is home to the common walking catfish and the globally critically endangered straw-headed bulbul.

To minimise the recreational pathway's impact on the environment there, the National Parks Board (NParks) is roping in members of the public and environment consultants to help.

This weekend (Aug 27 and 28), members of the public, including student volunteers, will help to survey and record the flora and fauna along Clementi Forest Stream, which is part of the upcoming Clementi Nature Trail.

The data collected by the "citizen scientists" will help to guide habitat enhancement efforts for the area, such as the choice of plant species along the stream banks to support aquatic life, NParks said in a statement on Saturday (Aug 27).

The biodiversity surveys will eventually be sent to environment consultants who will closely study how the development works near the stream will impact the plants and animal life, and come up with mitigation strategies.

To this end, NParks has called for an environmental impact assessment to be done before the second phase of enhancement works are carried out at the trail.

The assessment will cover pathways totalling 800m, which includes the stream and a path along the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal.

Last year, it was announced that two new nature trails running through Clementi Forest will be created and the 2km Clementi Nature Trail is one of them.

This pathway will run from the Clementi Forest Stream to a new nature park in Ulu Pandan West. In the first phase of enhancements for the trail, work began last year on the middle stretch of the trail, south of the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal. That stretch is about 500m long. 

The second upcoming nature trail is the 4km Old Jurong Line Nature Trail which will run along a stretch of the old Jurong Railway Line.

These trails will be progressively completed from 2023.

The freshwater Clementi Forest Stream is home to various dragonflies, freshwater fish and amphibians.

The biodiversity survey carried out by the public this weekend will cover the aquatic fauna, hydrology, dragonflies and vegetation along the stream, as well as bird species nearby.

In addition, surveys using camera traps are also being carried out over two months to monitor wildlife in the area, NParks said.

This will enable sightings, including nocturnal species, to be recorded in a manner that minimises disturbance to the animals.

This weekend's surveys are led by student volunteers from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, and carried out by members from the Friends of Clementi-Ulu Pandan Nature Corridor - comprised of nature group members and residents.

Mr Muhammad Nasry, who leads the Singapore Youth Voices for Biodiversity, participated in some of the surveys at the stream on Saturday.

He hopes that the environment impact studies at the site will prioritise connectivity and wildlife movement, especially for animals that are not able to fly and need to rely more on how green spaces are designed.

“Building structures like culverts to improve connectivity for frogs and other ground-dwelling species could be a good addition as well,” Mr Nasry added.

Both the Clementi Nature Trail and the Old Jurong Line Nature Trail will be part of the recently identified Clementi Nature Corridor, comprising a series of linked green patches between Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Southern Ridges that wildlife can travel through.

Correction note: This article has been edited to reflect the correct name of Tay Li Si. We are sorry for the error.

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