The island of Singapore is a mere 720km2 but is home to over 5.5million people and significant tropical diversity. The ‘garden city’ has long acknowledged that restoration of degraded habitats is an important component of a biodiversity preservation strategy, and in late 2018 contracted Biotropica to assist with a review of its existing Restoration Strategy to ensure review outcomes are recognised in the Singapore’s updated National Biodiversity Strategy.
The review of existing restoration strategies revealed a number of areas where practical changes could improve site capture and positive biodiversity outcomes. A key change is proposed in the area of exotic species management. Invasion by aggressive exotic vines, trees and shrubs is a key threat to small forest patches in the tropics – especially by species such as Clidemia hirta, Elaeis guineensis and Piper aduncum which have the ability to significantly degrade and transform forest habitats.
In addition to conducting a review of the Singapore’s Restoration Strategy, Lead Consultant Nigel Tucker also took the opportunity to deliver a two-day training course in restoration theory and practice to senior managers from Singapore’s National Parks Department. Participants spent time absorbing restoration concepts before preparing Restoration Plans for new areas of land being added to the Bukit Timah Reserve, a jewel of tropical diversity in the centre of Singapore. The reserve is remarkable for the specially constructed wildlife overpass designed to link Bukit Timah with the adjacent Central Catchment Reserve. Whilst inspecting the overpass, Nigel recorded the first overpass crossing of the flying tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) – a snake that glides rather than flies…….