Biodiversity in Singapore

The sheer spectrum of flora and fauna in Seletar is simply breathtaking. Butterflies and birds are just the more obvious groups. It got us thinking about the status of biodiversity in this island.

EarthTrends publishes an Environmental Information Portal and has comparative data for many countries. According to its profile of Singapore, protected areas as a percent of total land in Singapore is 5.5% versus 10.8% globally. It also lists 54 out of 2,282 species of higher plants as endangered.

National Geographic published a review indicating that Singapore has lost up to 73 percent of its plants and animals over the last two centuries. To further conservationists’ woes, prospects for the remaining species are bleak. World Conservation Union (IUCN) figures estimate that 77 percent of the island’s remaining butterflies, fish, birds, mammals, and other species are threatened. Ecologist Barry Brook of the Northern Territory University in Darwin, Australia and biologists Navjot Sodhi and Peter Ng of the National University of Singapore’s Raffles Museum of Biodiversity embarked on a study to estimate extinction.

Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh, who served as Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for, and the Main Committee at, the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, wrote in The Straits Times, April 21, 2007, that “Mother Earth is Sick” and offered 10 recommendations for Singapore , including suggestion for the “Government to persuade the Singapore Real Estate Developers Association, the Singapore Institute of Architects, the Singapore Institute of Planners, the Singapore Institute of Engineers and the Association of Consulting Engineers (Singapore) to agree to benchmark best international practice in the design and construction of our new buildings for the efficient use of energy, water and other resources”.

NParks has stewardship as Scientific Authority in Nature Conservation for Singapore, and discharges this responsibility through the National Biodiversity Reference Centre (NBRC). Its scope of work includes synergising and maintaining partnerships and strategic alliances with relevant agencies, interest groups and volunteers for collaboration of long-term conservation efforts and strengthening information-sharing efforts.

We wonder if the masterplan for Seletar Aerospace Hub will incorporate these concerns and suggestions?

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