S’pore’s youth hold key to preserving biodiversity


Manoraj Rajathurai

Published: 4:00 AM, June 19, 2017

Sir David Attenborough, the world-renowned naturalist, has warned that reserves and parks are not enough to protect nature worldwide. He has called for a radical new approach to conservation.

Some years ago, Dr David Bellamy, the eminent botanist, had said that the number of tree species growing in a single hectare of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was greater than the number of tree species in all of North America.

He also added that the reserve, which is some 12km from the Central Business District, was home to between 800 and 900 types of flowering plant, and over 500 species of animals.

Singapore has seen a significant surge in the numbers of species here over the past five years or so, which we can be very proud of. But we cannot afford to get complacent about this.

Meanwhile, we are definitely an example for the rest of the world, and that is why we should become a focal point for how nature can be sustained despite rapid urban development.

That should further enhance and ensure that species continue to thrive and be rediscovered, with new ones being found all the time.

This is something we must never lose sight of.

This is where Singapore’s youth hold the key, and it is heartening to see that so many of them have an interest in animal and plant life, and are coming forward as volunteers.

With their fresh ideas and boundless energy, they must do all they can to promote the importance of appreciating and preserving the little green spots throughout Singapore.

They must highlight the fact that there is much more in the way of biodiversity to be found here.

What makes it even more remarkable is the very small area in which it is found, despite the constraints and constant pressures of land use, which are more intense in Singapore than anywhere else in the world.