Our Nature Reserves are RICH
Tropical rain forests contain a greater diversity of plant and animal life than any other vegetation type. They form Earth’s most complex and species-rich ecosystem. Their huge diversity is due to the adaptive abilities of the plants and animals to survive periods of changing climate and geologic upheaval throughout millions of years. They expand their ranges during periods of favourable climate, withdraw to refuges when climates were adverse, and dispense to other land areas at times when land bridges were temporarily available within their range of climatic tolerance.
[See Our Nature Reserves are ANCIENT.]
There are many habitats in CCNR:
In this area that has 6 different habitats and occupying only about 3% of our Total Land Area of Singapore, is a rich home for 327 species of animals. Even though less than 0.55 of Singapore’s original forests remain and they are entirely found in BTNR and CCNR. More than 2,000 species of plants been recorded in Spore and 80% are found in these forests.
According to the Singapore Green Plan report 2012, in the last 150 years, more than 8,300 species have been recorded in Singapore. These included more than 85 mammals, 360 birds, 920 fishes and 2,300 vascular or “higher” plants. Scientists believe there are new species out there waiting to be discovered.
Surveys conducted by volunteers from NSS Vertebrate Study Group together with NParks (updated in 2008 – 2010) have revealed greater details of the numbers of species found just in CCNR. Looking at the Earth Trend report from Singapore in 2003, we have a general idea of how important a role CCNR plays.
The MacRitchie forest has been identified as one of the most important sites within the BTNR and CCNR for birdlife. Unfortunately, at least 37 species of the birds are nationally threatened in various degree as listed in the Singapore Red Data Book (2008)
Singapore has no national legislation to protect endangered ecosystems. However, we did agree to protect species-rich environments such as our Nature Reserves in 1993 under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
We have lost more than 95%of our land and freshwater species over 183 years due to habitat loss. Base on the survey of extinction rates of plants and animals in Singapore, Brook et al. (2003) has predicted that up to one-fifth of the world’s plant and animal species could be wiped out within 100 years by deforestation in Southeast Asia.
Brook, B. W., Sodhi, N. S. & Ng, P. K. L. 2003 Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore. Nature 424, 420 –423. (doi:10.1038/nature01795)
Southeast Asia has the highest relative rate of deforestation of any major tropical region, and could lose three quarters of its original forests by 2100 and up to 42% of its biodiversity
Sodhi, N. S. et al., 2004. Southeast Asian Biodiversity: An Impending Disaster. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution Vol.19 No.12 December 2004
Singapore is one of the 4 biodiversity hotspots overlapping Southeast Asia. The biodiversity hotspots are areas that contain high concentrations of endemic species and undergoing immense habitat loss.
Cropped figure 1 Species richness and endemism in Southeast Asia. The four biodiversity hotspots overlapping Southeast Asia are highlighted in red. Bars represent the percentage of species endemic to the respective hotspot. Numbers in parentheses represent total and endemic species known to science, respectively. The island of Borneo includes the political divisions of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Details of biodiversity hotspot boundaries, and numbers of total and endemic species within each hotspot were taken from Conservation International.
“What is clear is that if green areas outside the strictly protected Nature Reserves were to be cleared, Singapore’s biodiversity would be lower than it is today – less habitat leads to fewer species, and smaller and thus more vulnerable animal populations,”
Shawn Lum, President of Nature Society (Singapore)