Currently, there are five Bodhi Trees (Ficus Religiosa) in Singapore registered under the list of Singapore’s heritage tree register. However, one that is especially worth mentioning is the latest addition to the list, and that would be the Bodhi tree located within the premise of a temple located off Bartley road.
The tree is over 120 years old and has a height of approximately 30 metres, girth of 8.5 metres, which is considered to be ” the most ancient and largest Bodhi tree in Singapore according to the NSS (Nature Society Singapore) and Nparks.” (Wikipedia.com, 2007)
The Bodhi tree has a symbiotic relationship with the temple as its roots are deeply intertwined with the building’s foundation. Hence, development of the land at the proximity of the tree’s location will have an adverse effect on the tree, thus causing soil movement and stresses to the roots.
Alas, as part of the plan for redevelopment, the temple was acquired to make way for the construction of Circle line despite the immense effort and appeals from the public though the tree was conserved as in response to the public’s petition.
However, it looks like this is not the end to the tree’s sufferings. In 2009, URA has put up a site for application for likely development of homes on the land where the tree is occupying. Although it is under the protection of heritage trees, one can wonder what sort damage will be caused onto the tree when the land is developed for the building of fancy condominiums?
1. Wikipedia.com. Singapore oldest Bodhi Tree estimated at 120 year old at Jin Long Si Temple on 21 Jan, 2007. Credits: Aldwin Teo. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JLS_Bodhi_Tree.jpg
2. H88.com.sg (n.d). The Bartley Road land parcel and a Bodhi tree. The homepage for homes. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from http://www.h88.com.sg/article/The+Bartley+Road+land+parcel+and+a+Bodhi+tree/
3. Singapore’s Heritage Tree Register (January, 2010). Retrieved April 16, 2010, from http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/docs/CIB/Heritage_Tree_Register_NOV2009.pdf