Extension of Zhenghua Nature Park officially opened

The extension is also part of the National Parks Board's efforts to expand the green buffer of Singapore's nature reserves, as well as make parks more attractive to biodiversity.
Olivia Siong, Channel NewsAsia 29 Nov 15

SINGAPORE: A 3.8-hectare extension of Zhenghua Nature Park in Bukit Panjang has officially been opened.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee graced the event on Saturday (Nov 28) and planted a tree to mark the occasion.

Besides providing more amenities to park-goers, the extension is also part of the National Parks Board's (NParks) efforts to expand the green buffer of Singapore's nature reserves, as well as make parks more attractive to biodiversity.

For example, at the Zhenghua Nature Park Extension, NParks has planted more than 30 species of plants, including those that produce fleshy fruits, to attract various types of birds. To date, 16 species of birds have been sighted in the new extension.

Moving forward, such habitat enhancement work will be extended to 18 other parks - including East Coast Park and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Mr Lee said: "Under our Nature Conservation Masterplan, NParks has also been carrying out habitat enhancement efforts in parks all across the island to support biodiversity conservation efforts. These include the strategic planting of native species to restore the forest habitat, as well as planting a diverse species of plants.

“These efforts have paid off as we are seeing greater variety of birds, insects and butterflies in our parks, right in the middle of a bustling city. So, if we keep our eyes opened, our ears peeled, we can see a side of Singapore that we seldom see right in the heart of our city.”

- CNA/xk

New extension to Zhenghua Nature Park opened
AsiaOne 29 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE - The new 3.8 hectare extension to the Zhenghua Nature Park near Bukit Panjang New Town was opened on Saturday.

The new extension's amenities include outdoor fitness equipment and public toilets.

The development of the extension is part of efforts by the National Parks Board (NParks) to enhance habitats in parks.

The Nature Park's extension will open up opportunities for the community to cultivate a greater appreciation of our biodiversity, NParks said.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee planted a Jelutong tree at the park to mark the opening of the extension on Saturday.

He said: "Together with Springleaf Nature Park, Zhenghua Nature Park serves as a green buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and forms part of an islandwide ecological network for biodiversity."

"Under the Nature Conservation Masterplan, NParks has also been carrying out habitat enhancement efforts in parks across the island to support biodiversity conservation efforts. Our future generations of Singaporeans need to understand the value of conserving our natural biodiversity. I hope that with our habitat enhancement efforts, these green spaces will become outdoor classrooms for our students to observe the various plant and animal species and gain deeper knowledge of them," Mr Lee added.

Like other nature parks, Zhenghua Nature Park will help to reduce visitorship pressure on the nature reserves by providing alternative venues for the public to enjoy nature-related activities, NParks said in a statement.

NParks also said: "Zhenghua Nature Park skirts the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and forms a green buffer for the reserve. By forming a vital ecological linkage between nature reserves and forested areas in the west like the Western Catchment, it facilitates the safe passage of fauna among green spaces. Such buffers thus function as extensions of the Reserve."

According to the authority, there are about 37 species of birds at Zhenghua Nature Park. Besides birds such as the Olive-backed Sunbird, Flameback Woodpecker and Pink-necked Green Pigeon which are often spotted in parks and gardens, birds which are typically found in forests have also been sighted like the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Long-tailed Parakeet. The nature park is also a stopover for migratory birds like the Arctic Warbler.

Sixteen species of birds have been seen at the extension since May this year when habitat enhancements first began, including the Blue-throated bee-eater and the Oriental Dollarbird, both of which are forest-edge species.

More than 30 species of plants were added to the park's extension including bird attracting species like Tembusu, Syzigium polyanthum, Ficus microcarpa, Leea indica, Rhodomrytus tomentosa and Ixora javanica.

With the extension, the total area of Zhenghua Nature Park is brought to 17.3 hectares.

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