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The Future
Given the compromise that was eventually forged between NSS and NSRCC on 22 April 2002, what is the future for the Kranji Bund Marshes?

The compromise allows for a 60 m stretch from the shoreline of the North Kranji Bund Marsh to be retained as a sort of 'buffer' for the wetland birds. The golf course will take up about 60 ha out of the 74 ha on leasehold for the project. This means that about 14 ha of marshes will be retained, amounting to only about 28 per cent of the original marshland of the estimated 50 ha. This is an improvement from NSRCC's original plan of leaving only about 8 ha out of the golf course area for conservation, but still constitutes a hefty curtailment of the marsh habitat.


Marshes are important feeding and roosting areas for
waterbirds like this
Purple Heron
  However, there are many foreseeable problems that must be tackled to lessen the detrimental ecological. impacts on the remaining marsh habitat resulting from the golf course project. Of particular concern is the lack of depth/breadth of the remaining marshes, which will pose problems for the bird species that use the marshes as a breeding and feeding ground or protective refuge when disturbed along its edges, such as the Purple Swamphen and the Purple Heron. Being disturbed from both flanks, land and shore, is certain given that the area will be turned into a golf course and when nature trails and recreational activities are allowed.

  Moreover, the golf course will also cause the patch of marshes along the existing canal south of the Kranji Radio Transmission Station, harbouring several important wetland species such as the Purple Swamphen, to be isolated from the main body of marshland along the shoreline.

Scrubland and grassland fringing the
marshes at the Kranji pipeline

Also of serious concern is the alteration of the hydrology of the marshes, given that the golf course will entail that rainwater run-off from the high ground along the existing canal and channels will be obstructed or redirected elsewhere rather than filtered through the marshes - leading to some level of dehydration and also the loss of regular waterflushes from upland, which is critical to productivity and biodiversity.

To offset or minimise these negative effects, serious consideration must be given to mitigation and containment measures such as proper ecological screens, stepping stones, green corridors, sustainable water-flows and so forth. For the long-term viability of the marshland, it is now critical that the remnant North Kranji Bund Marsh be integrated into the South Kranji Bund Marsh, inclusive of the shoreline at the Kangkar arm of the Reservoir further south, as one conservation entity - to be left undeveloped and fully protected as a refuge and source of propagation for the marshland wildlife in the remaining northern sector (see map). Saving the remaining marshes will ensure that not only an area with a rare habitat together with all the wildlife that is adapted to its water-logged conditions will survive, but also that an equally rare and lovely landscape of open horizons and open skies be left as another invaluable green lung for highly stressed urbanised Singaporeans now and for the future.

References
BRIFFETT, C. (1985). Kranji Marshes -An Outline Proposal for a New Nature Reserve. (Malayan Nature Society, Singapore Branch).
BRIFFETT, C. (Ed.) (1990) Master Plan for the Conservation of Nature in Singapore. (Malayan Nature Society, Singapore Branch).
ENV (Min. of the Environment) (1993) The Singapore Green Plan - Action Programmes. (Singapore: Ministry of the Environment).
HANCOCK, J. & ELLIOTT, H. (1978) The Herons of the World. (New York: Harper & Row Publishers).
HO, H. C. (2000) Kranji Reservoir Environs (Singapore): An Integrated Conservation Plan. MSc. Dissertation submitted to Imperial College, University of London.
HO, H. C. (1990) Conservation Proposal for Kranji Heronry and Marshes. (Malayan Nature Society, Singapore Branch).
LIM, K. S. (1994) Pocket Checklist of the Birds of the Republic of Singapore. (Singapore: Nature Society [Singapore])
LIM, K. S. (1992) Vanishing Birds of Singapore. (Singapore: Nature Society [Singapore]).
NSS (Nature Society [Singapore]) (2002) SAFRA's Golf Course Project at the Kranji! Bund Marsh: Nature Society's Feedback on Impacts and Proposals for Conservation and Mitigation.
NSS (Nature Society [Singapore]) (2002) Letter to NSRCC dated 27 March - Reference: NSRCC Golf Course Project at Kranji Marsh.
NSS (Nature Society [Singapore]) (1999) Take action to save Kranji Marshes. Letter to the Forum, The Straits Times, 16 February.
SCOTT, D. A. (Ed.) (1989) A Directory of Asian Wetlands. (Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, The World Conservation Union).
WELLS, D. R. (1999) The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Volume One. (San Diego: Academic Press).
YEONG, A. 5. (1990) The Advent of a Green Wave in Singapore. (The Straits Times, 30 October).


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