Most Singaporeans have visited Bukit Timah Nature Reserve at least once in their life. It hosts our highest hill, Bukit Timah, and has been named an ASEAN (Association of the Southeast Asian Nations) Heritage Park in 2011 (Lee & Lim, 2015). However, should we pursue economic growth at the risk of our nature?
To us, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve serves as a mean for relaxation and nature-time but to the many species that live there, it is their home. The nature reserve has more than 500 species of wildlife and provides for 1000 species of flowering plants (Lee & Lim, 2015). As Singapore advances, the loss of habitats and biodiversity due to the conversion of land needs to be supported by an increase in efforts to conserve the flora and fauna. Furthermore, Singapore aims to be the greenest city in the world, so how can we forsake our nature reserves? (Kolczak, 2017)
The construction of Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) was once a controversy. It prevented interaction between Bukit Timah Forest and Central Catchment Nature Reserve and this can negatively affect the entire ecosystem (Lee & Lim, 2015). An increase in roadkills was also observed as almost 2 Sunda pangolins, listed as “Critically Endangered” by IUCN and in the Singapore Red Data Book, died yearly between 1994-2014 (Chen, 2017). This brought attention to BKE and the Eco-Link was built in 2013. This facilitated the movement between the two forests and animals, such as the Common Palm Civet and Sunda Pangolin, have been spotted using this eco corridor via camera traps (NParks, 2015).
The success of this project shows that advancement and conservation can coexist and one does not necessarily mean the loss of the other. There will be future developments for Singapore, such as the Cross Island Line, which may threaten the environment, however, I believe that through careful planning and execution, it is possible for Singapore to become the greenest city and continue to prosper. Other countries can also look into urban green planning such that we will not compromise our Mother Earth for our wants.
Chen, M. (2017, August 15). How effective are wildlife corridors like Singapore’s Eco-Link? Retrieved November 16, 2018, from https://news.mongabay.com/2017/07/how-effective-are-wildlife-corridors-like-singapores-eco-link/
Kolczak, A. (2017, August 31). This City Aims to Be the World’s Greenest. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/urban-expeditions/green-buildings/green-urban-landscape-cities-Singapore/
Lee, M., & Lim, F. (2015, November 20). Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_55_2004-12-20.html
NParks. (2015, November 4). Eco-Link@BKE. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2015/11/factsheet-eco-link-at-bke