New Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network to encompass over 400ha of wetland habitats

Singapore-environment-nature-animal,FEATURE, by Martin Abbugao Photo taken on September 14, 2010 shows the scenery at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a wildlife sanctuary in Singapore. Sharon Chan peered through a pair of binoculars and zoomed in on hundreds of birds feeding on crustaceans and  aquatic invertebrates at a wetland reserve on Singapore's northern coast. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. (FILE PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Parts of northwestern Singapore will become a nature park network, with new parks, eco-corridors and nature areas to be added to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

In a media release on Wednesday (19 August), the National Parks Board (NParks) said the new Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network will cover over 400 hectares, which is more than triple the size of the current Wetland Reserve.

Other habitats to be added into the network are the Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat Nature Park, as well as Kranji Marshes. A new 18-hectare ecological link between the Wetland Reserve and the Lim Chu Kang mangroves will be conserved as the Lim Chu Kang Nature Park.

The Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network will safeguard a variety of wetland habitats, including mangroves, mudflats and freshwater marshes. The public can also look forward to more than 15 kilometres of trails to explore nature with the network by 2022.

It will be complemented by the upcoming Round-Island-Route, which will connect the various green areas in Singapore through trails and park connectors.The route is expected to be progressively completed by 2035.

This will be the second nature park network in Singapore after the 2,500-hectare Central Nature Park Network, which protects the rainforest habitats around and within the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves.

New park to encompass historic bungalow

The new Lim Chu Kang Nature Park will also encompass the historic Cashin House, a colonial-era bungalow built in the 1920s by the Cashin family from Ireland.

The vacant building will be rebuilt to include facilities such as an exhibition space, seminar rooms for workshops and a sea-view terrace. It is expected to be ready by 2022.

The park also comprises a variety of habitats such as mangroves, woodlands, scrublands and grasslands. They provide homes to coastal birds such as the Grey-headed Fish Eagle and grassland dwellers like the Baya Weaver.

Extensive research before decision to safeguard habitats

The decision to safeguard the wetland habitats around the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was determined through extensive research, which established the ecological connectivity and complementarity between the sites.

For example, the Wetland Reserve and Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat Nature Park are important refuelling sites for migratory shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. These habitats provide food sources and nursery grounds for numerous marine organisms, and also mitigate coastal erosion.

Studies show that as many as 279 species of birds has been recorded in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the surrounding complementary habitats. The nature park network will enhance conservation of these birds and the associated ecosystems.

More than 1,000 trees have also been planted over the past five years as part of the reforestation efforts at Kranji Marshes.

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