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Official Magazine of the Nature Society (Singapore)
  Conserving Singapore's Biodiversity
Main article | Nature areas of importance | Map of Singapore's nature areas

By Lim Kim Seng
Chairman, Conservation Committee
Nature Society (Singapore)

Photos by Phang Tuck Phew

Nature Areas of Importance
The Singapore Green Plan (1993) mapped out 19 areas to be retained without development and to have legal protection from future changes. Among these were Sungei Buloh and Pulau Ubin. The Conservation Committee in its latest report has also proposed new additions including Lorong Halus and Sungei Changi.

Sungei Buloh Nature Park
This nature area is Singapore's first wetland reserve but is still legally unprotected. There is a lease which will expire in 2008. An unsound proposal put up in October 1999 to have fishing, boating and canoeing within its boundaries created a public uproar. The project was withdrawn when no tenders were received.

Pulau Ubin
A key area for many threatened species including nationally threatened species like the Oriental Pied Hornbill, Red Junglefowl, Leopard Cat and the globally threatened Straw- headed Bulbul. Dugong occurs in its waters. This island retreat is threatened by wide-ranging development such as resorts and camps. As part of future development to house Singapore burgeoning population, there are plans to build an MRT line and housing estate on this favourite weekend getaway for many Singaporeans.

Oriental Magpie-robin
This native songster is now rare
due to habitat alteration and
competition with introduced mynas

Straw-headed Bulbuls
They are one of the over 50 native
birds threatened with extinction.
Their beautiful song makes them
vulnerable to the cagebird trade

Flying Foxes
Those in Singapore are not
only threatened by habitat loss
but they are also doomed
without a concerted
species recovery programme
Lorong Halus
A small but important site for freshwater species including nationally-threatened species like Lesser Whistling-duck, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Greater Painted-snipe and Little Grebe. This area also has stands of riverine mangrove along Sungei Belukar. In the migratory season, this site is a haven for migrating raptors such as the globally threatened Greater Spotted Eagle.

Sungei Changi (or Changi Creek)
Mangrove-lined banks along Sungei Changi makes a scenic and pleasing vista of an endangered biome. At low tide, mud-banks are exposed, attracting numerous invertebrates, mudskippers and herons. Ten species, or 50% of the extant true mangroves in Singapore, occur at Sungei Changi, including the locally endangered Bruguiera parviflora and six which are nationally near-threatened: Avicennia officianalis, A rumphiana, Ceriops tagal, Rhizophora apiculata, R. mucronata and Xylocarpus granatum. Recorded at the adjacent Changi Beach Park and worthy of protection are individual stands of Pemphis acidula and Cycas rumphii, both relics of the original coastal vegetation at Changi. The former is believed to be the last surviving specimen in Singapore and the latter is also locally endangered. These areas are important feeding and roosting grounds for resident herons including the nationally threatened Grey Heron and Black-crowned Night-heron. Mangrove species such as Striated Heron, Pied Fantail, Ashy Tailorbird occur. Also present are five species of kingfisher, two parakeet and the nationally-threatened Oriental Magpie-robin.

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