Plans underway for freshwater forest wetlands in the city

Loh Chuan Junn, Channel NewsAsia 27 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE: There will soon be more opportunities for the public to enjoy nature, with plans underway to restore the forest wetlands in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The National Parks Board (NParks) and Keppel Corp on Saturday (Aug 27) unveiled plans to restore the freshwater forest wetland ecosystem historically found in the vicinity of the Botanic Gardens.

Located in the coming Learning Forest extension of the Botanic Gardens, the restored forest will span 1.8 hectares. The project, named the Keppel Discovery Wetlands, is supported by Keppel Corp, which has committed S$2.08 million to the cause.

Speaking at the unveiling event, National Development and Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted the importance of conserving the fauna and flora of Singapore.

"This rainforest is very precious to us – it's one of the oldest remnants of forest in Singapore. Some of the trees have been around for almost 200 years," he said.

When completed, the wetlands will be made up of a variety of thematic freshwater forest wetland habitats connected by trails and boardwalks.

Some of the key features include Pulai Marsh, an area identified as the original location of a stream that ran through the forest from as far back as the 1860s. Today, the area still has populations of wetland plants growing. The wetlands project aims to enable such native species to flourish and thrive.

Another feature is a 50m-long boardwalk that runs through the marsh, which would allow visitors easy access to the wetland habitat, and an Orchid Islands featuring a large variety of native orchids in bloom.

A "Flora in Singapore" project was also launched on Saturday. The decade-long project aims to catalogue all the plant species found in Singapore, and will be published in 14 volumes when completed.

The Keppel Discovery Wetlands will be open to the public in early 2017.

- CNA/cy

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