Save the Braddell Road forest

Ong Ruici Today Online 11 Aug 12;

The forest area outside Braddell View estate is about the size of the Padang. Having often enjoyed its familiar, calming sight and the bird calls from within, I am dismayed that it is being rapidly cleared.

At least half of it has already been levelled, with no prior notification and no signs relaying the purpose or duration of the work or names of the agencies overseeing the project. This forest fragment provides an indispensable green corridor for forest birds flying from MacRitchie Reservoir and Bishan Park, like the patches at nearby Caldecott Station and the crematorium at Bishan.

The health of small natural forests and our nature reserves are inextricably linked. I have recorded 31 bird species feeding and resting in the Braddell Road forest since last year, such as the Crimson Sunbird, Rufous Woodpecker and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo.

This forest fragment may thus have conservation value that should be explored.

Recently, Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh called for more involvement by the public in land use issues and suggested we enact a law on environmental impact assessment, one which Malaysia already has.

Singaporeans are aware of the value of our nature areas and want a stake in their preservation.

We are willing to take ownership through dialogue with the Government, which is clear from the spirited negotiations over Bukit Brown, the Pasir Ris woodland and the forest land at Dairy Farm, Chestnut and Petir Road.

As such, I wish to know why there was no notification before the clearing of the Braddell Road forest.

I request for the release of the plans for this land area. I fear that it may be too late to halt works. I regret that I could not take action earlier.

I appeal to the authorities to comprehensively assess the environmental impact of future clearances and make the assessments available for discussion.