New coastal arboretum on Pulau Ubin with 70 plant species, including critically endangered species – Mothership.SG
In conjunction with Ubin Day on September 11, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced a new coastal arboretum on Pulau Ubin that will include around 500 trees of 70 species native to Singapore’s coastal environment.
The one-hectare arboretum will be home to several critically endangered plants, such as the Tristania Sea and the Damak-damak Tahun.
Damak-damak Tahun was once presumed nationally extinct until NParks rediscovered him on Coney Island in 2014.
At the launch of the Coastal Arboretum, Minister of National Development Desmond Lee and Minister of Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu planted critically endangered seaside nutmeg saplings extinct, another native species once thought to be extinct.
New coastal arboretum in Pulau Ubin
The arboretum is located at Ubin Living Lab, a 5.3 one hectare integrated facility for field studies, environmental education and community outreach.
For context, a hectare is about two and a half times the size of a football field.
The new coastal arboretum complements the existing mangrove arboretum. It acts as a nursery for native coastal plant species that will eventually be reintroduced and re-established on the island as part of habitat improvement efforts.
The new arboretum will be a valuable reference resource for students and researchers studying biodiversity, NParks said.
Lee said Pulau Ubin has always been a “special place” that abounds in rich biodiversity with various habitat types supporting an abundant diversity of native wildlife.
“Conserving these key habitats and ecosystems through tree plantations and other restoration efforts is crucial to ensure the long-term survival of rare native species,” added Lee of the importance of the arboretum. .
According to NParks, two insects new to science have also been discovered in Pulau Ubin in recent years, by collaborating researcher Dr Patrick Grootaert, head of the entomology department of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
Two new predatory invertebrates is a good sign
NParks announced the discovery of a new genus of Sepsid fly and a new species of long-legged fly (Trigonocera ubinensis), which were discovered in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
According to NParks, the two newly discovered insects are predators in the food chain, which is a good sign, as it reflects the abundance of prey available to them on the island.
The public can participate in the OneMillionTrees movement
As part of NParks’ reforestation efforts in Pulau Ubin, the OneMillionTrees movement offers members of the public the opportunity to participate in tree planting activities at 12 designated sites.
A total of 3,500 trees are expected to be planted at the sites this year, with the aim of improving biodiversity and ecological connectivity between these areas and the core forests that surround them.
According to Lim Jiang Jim, group director of NParks’ conservation division, these efforts not only benefit Pulau Ubin’s biodiversity, but also allow the community to forge closer ties with the environment.
At the launch of the new coastal arboretum, Fu said the OneMillionTrees movement is a great way for communities to contribute to Singapore’s climate resilience.
Nature-based solutions such as reforestation are the key strategy in Singapore’s fight against climate change.
Earlier this month, Fu also spoke about how Singaporeans must adapt to the effects of climate change and described Singapore’s adaptation and mitigation measures in light of new findings on climate change.
Improved accessibility and facilities for residents
In addition to improving the natural habitat of Pulau Ubin, NParks has also taken steps to improve accessibility and facilities for residents.
Looking at residents’ needs on a case-by-case basis, NParks had helped repair two “kampung houses” over the past year and pledged to undertake more “restoration” work in the future.
Fire extinguishers were also provided to residents, with plans to install fire hydrants and hose reel networks in the works.
In an effort to improve accessibility on the island, NParks made available a set of portable ramps to support residents in wheelchairs.
Ubin Day 2021
Ubin Day is the culmination of Pesta Ubin, a festival hosted by NParks, members of the Friends of Ubin (FUN) network and the community.
First held in 2002, this is the 10th time that Ubin Day has been organized to celebrate the different facets of the island.
During the three-week festival this year, members of the public can learn about the rich biodiversity and natural history of Pulau Ubin through virtual tours, lectures, and more.
For more information on Ubin Day, members of the public can visit their website.
Top image via NParks website