Singapore

NParks surveys to facilitate better conservation efforts

The surveys will be done on Southern Island and Central Catchment Nature Reserve

Comprehensive biodiversity surveys will be conducted on the Southern Islands as well as the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and its surrounding areas for the first time from next year, to facilitate better conservation efforts in the long term.

The Southern Islands Biodiversity survey, which will start in January and last for two years, will look at the terrestrial and marine habitats of more than 10 southern islands. These include the Sisters' Islands Marine Park and smaller islands such as Pulau Biola and Pulau Jong.

The survey will also include detailed flora and visual surveys of the shallow seafloor areas between 10m and 20m, which were not part of the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey conducted by the National Parks Board (NParks) from 2010 to 2013.

The Central Catchment Nature Reserve survey will cover the surrounding nature parks - Windsor, Thomson, Springleaf and Zhenghua - and the Eco-Link@BKE. Starting in February next year, the survey will last for five years.

The two surveys will be led by NParks, in partnership with the academic community and nature interest groups, who will be assisting on a voluntary basis.

NParks will also be updating the Singapore Red Data List, a common reference on the conservation status of native flora and fauna species, which was last updated in 2008.

The list, first published in 1994, also highlights taxonomic groups and individual species for conservation efforts, based on existing research and data.

The second edition of the list was published in 2008 by representatives from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore, Nature Society (Singapore) and NParks.

In the third edition, more than 30 experts from NParks, academia and non-governmental organisations covering various taxonomic groups will be involved.

These initiatives were announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday, before a public lecture by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall at the NUS University Cultural Centre.

Mr Heng said Singapore will need to learn how to live harmoniously with nature and wildlife to achieve the vision of a biophilic city in a garden.

Climate change has also been changing the habitat of Singapore's flora and fauna, and beyond implementing physical infrastructure measures, mitigation efforts must be more robust, he added.

Individuals must also come together and no personal effort is too small, he added.

The public can partner NParks by participating in the two biodiversity surveys, or in an initiative that will be launched over the next five years to design new parks and upgrade existing ones, he said.

Environment