Conservation Biogeography of Singapore and Beyond

Our Field Trip Experience exploring the Tropical Rainforest and Keppel Wetlands at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Tigers in the Singapore Botanic Gardens?


Do not doubt your eyes! Tigers are in the Botanic Gardens! Well…they are not exactly the copper-coated feline that we are familiar with, but they bear similar striking golden patterns as the warm-blooded creature. We are talking about the magnificent Tiger Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum), the largest orchid species in the world!

Continue reading

Unwelcomed guests: Invasive species

More plants and animals mean a healthier ecosystem, right? Well, this is not necessarily so. Plants and animals in the form of invasive species are actually causing global biodiversity loss. What are invasive species? Invasive species refer to animals or plants that are non-native and introduced. During my recent field trip to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG), I saw quite a few invasive species.

First, let me introduce to you the Keppel Discovery Wetlands which is Continue reading

Designing a Terrarium: Singapore Botanic Garden Learning Forest as a Tropical Rainforest Terrarium

To the globe-trotting backpackers, mentioning equatorial Southeast Asia brings to mind emerald tropical rainforests weaving through the region. Stretched to the horizon and back in time, Southeast Asia’s tropical rainforest is home to 15% of the world’s tropical forests, and is amongst the most biologically-rich ecosystems. However, they are often inaccessible.

Continue reading

Keppel Discovery Wetlands: A Collaboration Between Man and Nature

Figure 1. A Snapshot of Keppel Discovery Wetlands

(Source: Wong Hui Jie)


We’ve all heard of the term ‘Man vs Nature’— the destruction of forests, the pollution of oceans, and what about the otter attack at the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)?

Continue reading

Ignorance is Not Bliss: The Challenges Surrounding Conservation

Where can you find a rainforest and a wetlands side by side? Two Saturdays ago, I experienced just that – a tour by Prof. Gretchen of the Keppel Discovery Wetlands as well as Tyersall Learning Forest, two restored ecosystems in the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG). They support a dizzying variety of biodiversity and provide a chance to get up close with unique species such as the world’s largest orchid, the tiger orchid, as well as towering dipterocarp trees, characteristic of tropical rainforests. (It’s a must-see for anyone who wants to learn about Singapore’s natural landscapes of the past!) On the tour, I learnt about the conservation and restoration work that SBG has been engaged in and began to understand the challenges surrounding conservation.

Continue reading

Are we ready to be a ‘City in Nature’?

On the 11th of May, 1967, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew introduced the ‘Garden City’ vision for Singapore. This vision aimed to transform Singapore into a clean city with an abundance of greenery to help improve the livelihood of its people.

Continue reading

Superpowers of rainforest plants in Singapore Botanical Garden’s Learning Forest

Ever wondered what would natural superpowers look like? I was delighted to witness some exhibited by the tropical lowland rainforest plants during my GE4224 Fieldtrip. Under the guidance of Dr Gretchen, we visited the Learning Forest located in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Singapore Botanical Gardens on 12th February 2022. This area was slated for restoration as part of the larger Tyersall-Gallop Core and adopts a framework species reforestation method where the existing non-native rubber trees support the growth of native trees before the former is removed from the area upon substantial restoration.

Continue reading

Keppel Discovery Wetland – The Human Engineered Wetland Swamp Forest

When it comes to wetlands in tropical Singapore, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the mangroves lining along Singapore’s remaining natural coastlines. However, you may not have come across the freshwater swamp forests that used to cover 16% of Singapore’s land mass.

Continue reading

The Past, Present and Future Garden of Singapore

In 100 years, Singapore grew from a small colonial port into one of the world’s most well-developed and modern cities.  But, what did this transformation cost? Although we claim to be a  “garden” city, many of our original forests, wetlands and mangroves have already been destroyed. A few weeks ago, I visited the Keppel Discovery Wetland in Singapore Botanical Garden (SBG), the last refuge for Singapore’s endangered freshwater wetland species. The field trip was part of NUS GE4224 Applied Biogeography module.

Continue reading

Nature Restoration in the City – A Day at Singapore Botanic Gardens

“City in Nature” – Singapore’s oft-quoted slogan representing its aspirations to be a modern yet biophilic city, in which a world-class built environment and natural greenery co-exist in harmony. Where better to learn about Singapore’s “City in Nature” ambitions than its most famous nature heritage site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG). On my “GE4224: Applied Biogeography” learning journey in SBG on 5 February 2022, I had the opportunity to learn about one of SBG’s major restoration projects: the Keppel Discovery Wetlands (KDW).

Continue reading

« Older posts
Skip to toolbar