NParks unveils 10-year action plan to make Singapore's rainforests more resilient

NParks unveils 10-year action plan to make Singapore's rainforests more resilient

Under the Forest Restoration Action Plan, about 250,000 trees and shrubs will be planted over the next decade. Farez Juraimi reports.

SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) unveiled a 10-year action plan on Friday (Jan 25) that seeks to "strengthen the resilience" of Singapore's native rainforests. 

The action plan covers the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Nature Park Network.

In a press release, NParks said that the Forest Restoration Action Plan "will chart the restoration that will be undertaken over the next 10 years to regenerate the secondary forests in the nature parks buffering the two nature reserves, as well as disturbed patches within the reserves".

"This will assist the forests to regenerate and approximate a mature forest landscape in time," it added. 

NParks Forest Restoration Action Plan
Minister for Social and Family and Development Desmond Lee (left), Adviser for Holland-Bukit Timah Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Chairman of Garden City Fund Prof Leo Tan and Adviser for Holland-Bukit Timah Ms Sim Ann, taking part in the community tree-planting ceremony. (Photo: Farez Juraimi) 

Buffer parks give the public a space to interact with nature and help lower visitorship pressure on the nature reserves. 

As part of restoration efforts, NParks will engage the community in activities such as planting more than 250,000 trees and shrubs across the nature parks and open areas in the nature reserves. 

The plants are native to Singapore and include nitrogen-fixing plants like the petai, as well as fruit-bearing trees like the kumpang and common sterculia. 

Forest Restoration NParks
NParks spokespeople explaining the processes of planting and weed removal to students. (Photo: Farez Juraimi) 

On Friday, NParks' group director for conservation Dr Adrian Loo highlighted the importance of community stewardship. 

“We always believe in community stewardship. By actually planting a plant, they will feel like they own the forest as well. We are encouraging that kind of community stewardship over the forest," said Dr Loo. 

Mr Joseph Koh, chairman of the Friends of Bukit Timah community group, also expressed hope that the action plan would become a national effort.  

NParks Forest Restoration Action Plan Desmond Lee
Minister Desmond Lee partakes in the removal of invasive weed species. (Photo: Farez Juraimi) 

“What we really need to do is explain to the community, to our younger generation, the science and the broader strategic considerations behind this programme," said Mr Koh. "They can (then) see precisely (that) what we are doing has a multiplying effect on how the forests can be further protected.”

The works in Rifle Range park are scheduled to be completed by next year. 

Restoration efforts at the park began on Friday, involving Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, as well as advisers for the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

Also participating were nature group members and 80 students from Fuchun Secondary School, Nanyang Girls' High School and ITE College East.

NParks Forest Restoration Action Plan Jan 25, 2019
Adviser for Holland-Bukit Timah Ms Sim Ann interacting with students. (Photo: Farez Juraimi) 

Source: CNA/zl(hs)