Monday 16 February 2015

Windsor Nature Park in Upper Thomson to open by end 2016

By Feng Zengkun, Environment Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 15 Feb 2015

The 75ha Windsor Nature Park in Upper Thomson will open its doors to residents late next year.

They are meant to reduce the number of visitors to the reserve, to minimise the impact on its vegetation and wildlife.

The Windsor site, where work is expected to start by the middle of this year, is home to many creatures, including frogs, squirrels and dragonflies.

Yesterday, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee kicked off reforestation efforts there by planting a tree. The reforestation will be carried out at the entrance and along nature trails, and the entrance will also look rustic and have a wetland that expands the existing aquatic habitat.

The three other nature parks are Springleaf park at Nee Soon Road, which was officially opened last November; Chestnut park near Bukit Panjang, which will be completed next year; and Thomson park, which is still being planned.

Mr Lee yesterday also launched a new coffee table book, Rainforest In A City, which was written by National Parks Board volunteer Chua Ee Kiam.

The book showcases the rich biodiversity in the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves, and contains 477 photographs taken by Dr Chua and a team of more than 100 photographers and contributors.

To mark Singapore's 50th birthday, a chapter is also devoted to flora and fauna in the reserves which are found only on the island, and native ones which are named after the nation, such as the Kopsia singapurensis plant - better known as the Singapore Kopsia.

* NParks opens Windsor Nature Park, Singapore’s sixth nature park, and announces plans for a new Rifle Range Nature Park

Streams run beside trails at Windsor Nature Park
75ha fourth buffer park of Central Catchment Reserve is home to many species of dragonfly
By Abigail Ng WY, The Sunday Times, 23 Apr 2017

Visitors to the newly opened Windsor Nature Park can see dragonflies, pond skaters and the native masked rough-sided frog in their natural wetland habitat.

Located off Upper Thomson Road, Singapore's sixth nature park is home to almost half of the 122 species of dragonfly found in Singapore.

Sales manager and Jurong resident Wing Ching How, 29, said he likes the freshwater streams that run alongside some of the park's trails.

"Other parks don't seem to have that and the swampy areas," he said. "And the paths are in very good condition, so I can stay dry."

Nature lovers can also spot rare native plants along the 350m-long Hanguana trail, which is named after the Hanguana rubinea, a plant found only in Singapore.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee opened the park yesterday. He also announced plans for Rifle Range Nature Park, a buffer park for the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve that will open in 2020.

Said Mr Lee: "Our network of nature parks is part of our commitment in this city in a garden, towards conserving our natural heritage."

The 75ha Windsor Nature Park is the fourth of five planned buffer parks to protect the Central Catchment Nature Reserve from the impact of urbanisation. The fifth one, the Thomson Nature Park, is expected to open in 2019.

Windsor features a 4m-high sub-canopy walkway that extends 150m, allowing visitors to see the fauna found above the ground.

The National Parks Board (NParks) spent two years repairing existing trails in the park and adding new ones, bringing the total length of trails to 3.85km.

The park's low-lying areas are prone to being waterlogged, resulting in the erosion of old trails used to access the TreeTop Walk and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Some of the new trails thus feature raised boardwalks to prevent further compaction of tree roots.

There are four trails in Windsor Nature Park, with one leading out to the TreeTop Walk.

Students helped in the park's development. Ms Penny Low, 21, who just graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's landscape design and horticulture course, helped to weed the park as part of a school module.

"I feel a sense of satisfaction, having contributed to this," she said, adding that the park gives a good introduction to the wetlands.

Rifle Range Nature Park will also aim to attract wetland fauna through a freshwater habitat. The 67ha park will link Beauty World to the former Sin Seng Quarry, once one of the deepest quarries here at 55m.

Bukit Timah reserve's flora and fauna to be surveyed
Findings of two-year project will guide management of ecological oasis
By Feng Zengkun, Environment Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 15 Feb 2015

Nearly 20 years after the last major survey of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of Singapore's most important ecological oases will come under scrutiny again.

The findings will be used for the long-term management of the reserve, which has at least 40 per cent of Singapore's native flora and fauna despite occupying only 0.2 per cent of the island.

The new effort is timely as the last time the reserve was surveyed on a similar scale was almost 20 years ago, between 1993 and 1997, said the National Parks Board (NParks).

The reserve is home to more than 840 species of flowering plants and more than 500 species of animals, including rare and native ones like the Singapore freshwater crab.

Public access to the reserve has been limited since last year for workers to carry out repair and restoration works.

The survey will focus on key groups of animals and plants that are crucial to the rainforest ecosystem.

It will also involve researching the reserve's primary forest, which includes one of the largest forest patches in Singapore that has never been cleared by people.

The project will involve NParks staff, scientists from academic institutions and people with expertise in some of the wildlife.

Researchers and experts involved in the 1990s survey will be roped in. They include Mr Khew Sin Khoon, an architect who is an avid butterfly enthusiast and photographer. He is also author of the Field Guide To The Butterflies Of Singapore.

Nature Society president Shawn Lum, who helped to survey primary forest tree species in the reserve in the 1990s work, plans to study the younger trees and saplings this time around to see if the forest is regenerating itself. He has already been doing this work as part of his own research with the National Institute of Education.

"This survey will be better than the last one as there are more people involved, and those returning have also become more experienced. The 1990s project was more of a warm-up," he said.

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