Best of our wild blogs: 31 Mar 12

Update on fire at Shell's Bukom refinery
from wild shores of singapore

Lots of dead fishes along Sungei Tampines
from wild shores of singapore

Otters @SBWR
from PurpleMangrove

When lizards hug, what does it mean?
from wild shores of singapore

A Beautiful Nest And Nature-programmed Hygiene
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Sharing about our shores at Green Drinks
from wild shores of singapore

Ong Say Lin to be appointed Director of ACRES Lao PDR
from The Biodiversity crew @ NUS

Read more!

Update on fire at Shell Bukom refinery

UPDATE 1-One of 3 crude units still down a day after outage at Shell Singapore plant
* 2 crude units restarted on the same day
* 3rd unit still down due to fire investigation
* Expected to restart in a day or 2
Yaw Yan Chong Reuters 27 Mar 12;

Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:51am BST

SINGAPORE, March 27 (Reuters) - One of three Crude Distillation Units (CDUs) at Royal Dutch Shell's 500,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Singapore refinery, its largest in the world, is still down a day after an outage that caused the plant to be shut for a few hours, industry sources said on Tuesday.

The outage occurred after electricity supply to the plant tripped momentarily, called a power dip, triggering a fire in one of the smaller secondary cracking units, part of its 33,000-bpd Long Residue Catalytic Cracker (LRCC) complex.

A Shell spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

The fire, which occurred at one of the flanges of the secondary unit and put out shortly after, forced the shut down of the plant's three CDUs.

Two were restarted by the end of Monday, and the third is expected to be restarted in a day or two. Disruptions to supply of oil products are expected to be minimal, as the oil major usually keeps sufficient buffer stocks.

"The third CDU is still down because it is connected to the unit where the fire occurred, and investigations are going on to find out exactly why the flange caught fire," one of the sources said.

"Compared to the fire in September, this outage is small, despite the necessity of shutting the plant down. There should not be any disruptions to Shell's supplies as they would have enough buffer to cover the shutdown."

In September, the plant was shut for two to four weeks following a major fire that forced the oil major to declare a force majeure on the sales of some of its oil products and some of its crude purchases.

Although all three CDUs were restarted by end-October, about a month after the fire, the plant has not been running at full trot, and is operating at under 80 percent, due to extensive repairs to its delivery system for clean oil products, the area where the fire occurred.

The sources said it was unlikely the current outage had anything to do with the previous fire, pointing out that the fire this time was a result of the power dip.

There have been problems with power supply to the plant, delivered from mainland Singapore onto the offshore Bukom island where it is located, they added.

"The staff has been careful with how much power they were using for the plant because of the issues. There are protocols in place on how to deal with such power trips, but the fire was unexpected," another source said. (Reporting by Yaw Yan Chong; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

Read more!

Bukit Brown: Don't get carried away by biodiversity

Straits Times Forum 31 Mar 12;

I HOPE Dr Ho Hua Chew of the Nature Society (Singapore) was speaking for himself and his fellow members, and not the public at large ('Consider the impact on biodiversity, says Nature Society'; Thursday).

Even a nature-lover like me finds it hard to swallow Dr Ho's sentiments, crying out against the threat to Bukit Brown's biodiversity posed by plans to develop it.

We should not let romance with biodiversity cloud rational thinking about competing land use in Singapore, which has a total land area of only 778 sq km and a population of more than five million.

Transport and housing for the living should take precedence over conserving valuable flora and fauna - and even cherished cemeteries. For instance, the KK Women's and Children's Hospital now sits on what was once an old cemetery, because the sick and living deserve a place more than the dead.

My late mother was buried at Bidadari Cemetery in 1954, and when the HDB wanted the land, I was asked to remove her ashes to a little niche at the Choa Chu Kang Columbarium.

I knew her 'bungalow' at Bidadari had to make way for the living, and I willingly supported the HDB's decision despite the personal pain and my filial piety.

To prevent more pressure on land use for future generations, I have told my children to bury me at sea after I pass on.

People, like all animals, form cooperative groups to compete for limited resources. The natural tendency of any population is to surge, although this is kept in check by limited food supply.

The bottom line is that while we may cherish historic cemeteries and biodiversity, we should spare a thought for the burgeoning population competing fiercely for the limited land that we have been blessed with.

Heng Cho Choon

Consider cheaper alternative to Bukit Brown road
Straits Times 31 Mar 12;

I AGREE with Mr Lee Chiu San ('Cheaper way to solve congestion in Adam, Lornie roads'; Thursday) that widening existing peak-hour chokepoints along Adam and Lornie roads, rather than constructing a highway through Bukit Brown to the Pan-Island Expressway, is a cheaper and better alternative to solving congestion.

To conservationists, I say it is a matter of time before the dead have to give way to the living. Bishan is a good example.

Graves of historical value can be relocated when it is time to free up prime land.

Tan Peng Boon

Let's live and let die, please...
Straits Times 31 Mar 12;

THE question civil society groups must consider is: Who would want to visit the graves at Bukit Brown Cemetery ('Navigating a new terrain of engagement'; yesterday). How many would do so weekly, or even monthly?

The truth is that the area gives many Singaporeans the spooks; it is eerie, unlike MacRitchie Reservoir.

Young couples need homes, but a minority like the civil society groups want to stop the eventual development of Bukit Brown into a housing zone.

In fact, the Land Transport Authority should scrap the plan to build a bridge across Bukit Brown; taxpayers' money should be used for more critical needs.

The Government should not cave in to the minority simply because they are vocal. I am certain that if it comes to a referendum or vote, an overwhelming majority of citizens would prefer the Government's plan for the area.

The living should come first, not the dead.

Daniel Chia

Preserving heritage is important
Straits Times Forum 3 Apr 12;

MR HENG Cho Choon argues that cemeteries have been cleared before, so why not Bukit Brown ('Don't get carried away by biodiversity'; last Saturday)? He also says preservation in the name of biodiversity is illogical, and that the needs of the living override those of the dead.

But just because KK Women's and Children's Hospital and Bishan New Town sit on cemeteries does not mean that Bukit Brown should go that way too. If this argument were sound, then the shophouses of Chinatown and Little India should be razed for multistorey flats or office buildings.

But we realised that historicity itself and heritage trumped development.

We could have built another hotel on the sites of the old St Joseph's Institution or the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Victoria Street. Yet the buildings are still there simply because they are important in their own right and Singapore is the better for it.

Bukit Brown is not an argument about the needs of the living, but one about nationhood within a short span of 200 years. Important people and history are buried there. Their stories need to be kept alive in a tangible form, like the Cenotaph or the Lim Bo Seng Memorial. A website will never do.

All efforts at a national education programme will always be lacking without a collective memory of our forebears with the last resounding phrase, say, in the year 2112: 'And his grave is still there to this day!'

Michael Lo

Read more!

Bukit Brown: Navigating a new terrain of engagement

A passionate attempt to save Bukit Brown Cemetery has not turned out as civil society groups hoped it would. What does the saga teach about engagement between the Government and citizens?
Grace Chua and Li Xueying Straits Times 30 Mar 12;

IF DEAD men could talk, imagine the stories that those buried at Bukit Brown would tell their loved ones this Qing Ming.

Left peacefully alone for decades barring the annual spurts of visits during the grave-sweeping festival in early April, they have, over the past year, been witness to a sudden hubbub of conversation and activity at their resting place.

Government officials have trooped up and down the undulating terrain, overlaid with gnarled roots, to survey the tombs and plant stakes by the 3,746 that would make way for a eight-lane road - in turn, a precursor of the eventual development of the entire cemetery for housing.

Passionate debates over its fate have swirled around the elaborate tombstones, as anthropologists, filmmakers and heritage enthusiasts hauled cameras around to document those affected.

Politicians have paid visits too, most notably Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin.

The Government's point man for the issue, he made his way to the cemetery on Feb 3, spoke to the documentation team and tried his hand at chalking the faded inscriptions on tombstones.

He also met other lobbyists, did media interviews, and penned his thoughts on Facebook.

Government officials - including the chief executives of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) - also held meetings with various groups on their concerns. Documentation shows that from July last year, about 15 such meetings have taken place.

In response to the vocal feedback, the Government said it would fund the documentation efforts, pushed back the date of exhumation, and realigned the road so that fewer graves - down from the original 5,000 - have to be exhumed for the road.

Most notably, one-third of it would be built in the form of an 'eco-bridge', a costlier option, so the cemetery's resident fauna such as monitor lizards can scamper under and plants, disperse.

But the controversial road remains, and so too the plans for the re-zoning of the 89-year-old cemetery for homes.

On March 19, the day the LTA announced the final details of the road, the dialogue ended on a sour note.

Duelling statements were issued by the civil society organisations (CSOs) hoping for a stay on the bulldozers, and Mr Tan.

The group of seven CSOs charged that a meeting with Mr Tan that evening gives 'a strong impression of the lack of good faith on the part of MND', referring to the Ministry of National Development.

They had thought it was an opportunity for them to offer and discuss alternatives to the road and development. 'The fact that this meeting is held after LTA's announcement of plans for the new highway demonstrates the old practice of presenting decisions as fait accompli to concerned groups instead of genuine engagement and discussion,' they said in a statement to the media.

Stung, Mr Tan fired back a salvo. At 4.30 the next morning, he posted a Facebook note.

The meeting was to announce the details and alignment of the road, he said.

In uncharacteristically terse language, he added: 'However, it was clear that it did not matter.

'Because we failed to conduct a session that was in line with what they wanted, for example, to have their own briefs, to invite others on their invite list, it was deemed to be an inadequate effort at genuine engagement.'

These are strong words from the fourth-generation leader who has made public engagement a personal commitment since entering politics last year; and from a government that stresses the importance of consultation and policy 'co-creation' in its governance today.

The Bukit Brown saga is thus a case study of how the Government and citizens are navigating their way through the terrain of public engagement in a new political environment - and the minefields that it holds.

Why it was such a tinderbox

THOSE caught off-guard by the sound and fury of the Bukit Brown saga would have remembered that controversial and hard-headed decisions are hardly new to this Government.

Take the razing of Bidadari Cemetery from 2001 to 2006, which housed many of Singapore's famous dead. There were cries of protest, but they faded into the background. Today, a new town is being built on the plot.

At the same time, the Government has also shown that it is amenable to staying its hand on development in response to public feedback.

A notable instance is Chek Jawa.

But the stakes for Bukit Brown are particularly high - for both sides. The cemetery occupies prime land that could one day house 15,000 flats for some 50,000 residents, or 40 per cent of Toa Payoh township.

At the same time, it is also a historic space, the heritage and ecological value of which is irreplaceable, counter the CSOs.

Today, such groups are also able to galvanise public opinion and get organised with greater speed than before, particularly with the rise of social media.

For instance, the groups SOS Bukit Brown and All Things Bukit Brown were started only in November last year after a public symposium on the issue, rapidly developing a presence online and on social networking site Facebook.

What's more, post-General Election 2011, there are higher expectations of the Government when it engages in public consultation.

Said governance expert Neo Boon Siong of Nanyang Technological University (NTU): 'I think the Government has progressed - Mr Tan Chuan-Jin has certainly gone further than previous ministers to engage civil society.'

He applauded the 'sincere attempts' in response to feedback: the documentation process and eco- bridge. 'But it could have done better.'

What went wrong?

THE harnessing of public ideas for how former railway land should be developed, a project spearheaded by Mr Tan too, is considered a public engagement success.

But it benefited from starting on a blank slate - with no plans yet for the narrow 26km stretch.

Not so for Bukit Brown.

Fundamentally, there was a mismatch of expectations between the Government and civil society groups on what the engagement process was to achieve.

From the former's point of view, the decision had been made two decades ago. Bukit Brown had been earmarked for housing since the 1991 URA Concept Plan, which guides development for the next 40 to 50 years. A spokesman reiterated in May 2011 that Bukit Brown and Bidadari were needed for housing.

But the CSOs were hopeful that there would be room for change.

Nature Society (Singapore) president Shawn Lum pointed out that the society raised concerns about Bukit Brown 20 years ago, in its Masterplan for the Conservation of Nature.

Nor are URA concept plans writ in stone, he said.

Media executive Jay Ng, a heritage volunteer, noted: 'You can't rest on what's said or done 20 years ago. Things change. Needs change.'

The CSOs thus prepared a stream of alternative proposals on where the proposed housing on Bukit Brown could be sited. Mr Liew Kai Khiun of the Heritage Society, for instance, argued that the choice should instead be between public housing and one of Singapore's 22 golf courses - including that of the Singapore Island Country Club off Lornie Road.

That in turn means there is no immediate need for the new road, they believe.

But the MND yesterday clarified to Insight that the need for the road is independent of the plans for Bukit Brown.

In September, LTA said that the road was necessary to deal with current and impending problems. Lornie Road is already congested. Between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles per hour use it during peak time, and traffic is expected to increase 30 per cent by 2020, it said. The new road is also needed for planned housing estates in central and northern Singapore.

The MND said: 'Thus, irrespective of future development at Bukit Brown, the new road through Bukit Brown is needed to serve traffic needs in the immediate term and the near future.'

And so, to the Government, the engagement efforts were meant to take on board concerns and to adjust development work. A U-turn was not on the table.

Said Mr Tan, in an e-mail response to Insight yesterday: 'To build or not build the road, was not, from the onset, something we were consulting on.

'We sought to explain our considerations even as we took on board the range of concerns and feedback.'

But in an unfortunate case of communication failure, the message never gained traction.

Said Nominated MP Janice Koh: 'I feel that the Government could have been more clear and more honest from the outset, meaning that if the decision was moot and there was no room for a turnaround for whatever reason, that should have been communicated and reiterated.'

Mr Tan acknowledged that there were differing expectations.

'For some interest groups, it was to undo the road decision whereas we wanted to see how we could build a better road with minimal impact, and how to carry out the documentation better,' he said. There also needs to be better appreciation of the expectations on all sides to enable constructive dialogue.

The Government also needs to better communicate the constraints it faces in making certain decisions, Mr Tan added. 'For example, I have explained in Parliament the different alternative options explored, and constraints in terms of not affecting the Nature Reserve and avoiding acquisition. However, some still insist that we should widen Lornie Road.'

Heritage and nature groups are also frustrated at what they perceive to be lack of transparency on the Government's part.

The LTA, for example, refused to release in full its biodiversity impact assessment report. They also asked for but did not receive data on population growth projections.

Underlying all this seems to be a lack of trust.

While some of the CSOs such as the Nature Society have long-established relationships with the Government, others - such as the newer ones - have had little contact. So, for instance, Ms Olivia Choong of interest group Green Drinks said government agencies 'haven't gone out and tried all other alternatives'.

It did not help that prior to March 19, the newer CSOs have not had official meetings with the authorities.

'It's a bit difficult to talk about engagement when we haven't had any direct contact,' remarked Ms Erika Lim of SOS Bukit Brown.

Implications and lessons

SOME say Bukit Brown marks a step backwards in the evolving relationship between state and citizen. Others feel that it was a useful episode as both sides learn to navigate the terrain.

There are some who fear the episode gives ammunition to those who feel that public engagement is a waste of time.

Ms Koh, for instance, worries that 'in this case, we took a few steps back and you have to rebuild those bridges, because it's a long-term relationship'.

But Prof Neo disagrees, saying: 'The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that that is the political imperative.

'This is part of the learning process as Singapore becomes a more mature democracy.'

What is clear is that it holds lessons for both sides.

One for the Government is to get its communications right.

Another is that it would have to learn to manage an increasingly diverse society of groups with different agendas and methods.

Some, like SOS Bukit Brown, are militant about their mission. They won't stop till they protect Bukit Brown '100 per cent', said Ms Lim. Others are doing some soul-searching and strategising. 'This raises the question: How can we accurately gauge the sentiment of the general public on these things?' said the Nature Society's Dr Shawn Lum.

'What works for one cause may not necessarily work for the same cause 10 years hence, or for a different cause.'

Yet it shows that members of the public can spontaneously take the initiative to get organised and 'stand shoulder to shoulder with everybody else', he added.

Those on the ground, too, remarked that they appreciated Mr Tan's work, but there was a limit to how far his mandate stretches.

Mr Woon Tien Wei of SOS Bukit Brown commented: 'There's a big difference between Tan Chuan-Jin as an independent minister, and the whole machinery of Government. I don't believe that he made up his mind very early on. He's listening, but I know it's not up to him.'

Indeed, Mr Tan himself made it clear that he is not giving up on the process.

'I believe that it is important for Singaporeans to care enough to be involved,' he said.

'Being engaged is almost an end in itself because the process would enable not only better policy-making but would also allow conversations that will lead to greater collective understanding.

'This understanding would include knowing our differences and to be able to agree to disagree. And the process goes on.'

Timeline of a grave saga
Straits Times 30 Mar 12;

1872: Seh Ong (Hokkien) cemetery set up.

1922: Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery officially opened on the site.

1973: Municipal cemetery is closed to burials.

1991-2001: In the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA's) Concept Plans 1991 and 2001, which guide development for the next 40 to 50 years, the site is zoned for residential use.

2003-2008: In the URA's Master Plans for 2003 and 2008, which set out plans for the next 10 to 15 years, it is marked as a cemetery.

March 2010: Heritage enthusiasts voice fears that the Circle Line will affect Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery.

May 2011: The Straits Times reports that Bukit Brown will eventually make way for housing.

June 2011: The Singapore Heritage Society publishes its book Spaces Of The Dead: A Case From The Living, reviving public interest in Bukit Brown. Interest groups explore and give walking tours of the area.

Responding to Straits Times Forum writers, the URA says Bukit Brown is needed for future housing, and that many such 'difficult trade-off decisions' are made in land-scarce Singapore.

Sept 13: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announces a new four-lane dual carriageway to be built by 2016 to ease congestion. Heritage groups ask for more time to document the graves. Some 5 per cent of the area's 100,000 graves to be affected.

Sept 21: Singapore Heritage Society protests that its only collaboration with the LTA and URA was to connect the agencies with documentation experts - after it was informed about the road. It asks the authorities to slow down the pace of development.

Sept 27: Following a spate of letters in The Straits Times, the LTA says the new road is needed to ease Lornie Road traffic and serve the area's future plans.

Oct 19: The Straits Times publishes a letter by descendants of famous pioneers, including Chew Boon Lay and Tan Tock Seng, who want Bukit Brown left alone.

Oct 21: Singapore Heritage Society issues a statement on how the group was not consulted over whether Bukit Brown should be developed.

Oct 24: Officials meet privately with heritage groups to explain the Government's reasons for developing a new road, and reaffirm plans to go ahead.

Oct 26: Heritage groups and the preservation project leader, appointed by the Government, raise concerns over insufficient time given to document the graves.

October 2011: Documentation of the graves begins.

Nov 6: Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin reiterates that Bukit Brown will not be spared the bulldozers, but the affected graves will be thoroughly documented.

Nov 19: Participants at a public heritage forum air concerns that activist groups have given up the fight to protect the graves wholesale.

Feb 3, 2012: Mr Tan's Facebook note says the carriageway will go ahead as planned.

Feb 4: Singapore Heritage Society expresses disappointment that there was no public consultation before the zoning decision and before the road was planned, and maintains the area should be protected as an historic site.

March 5: In Parliament, MPs make a last-ditch appeal to save Bukit Brown.

March 19: The LTA announces that part of the road through Bukit Brown will be a bridge over a depression, protecting some biodiversity. Exhumation is pushed back to early next year instead of late this year to give next-of-kin more time to register claims.

Mr Tan meets privately with civil society representatives, who are upset that the meeting was open only to select members. They call for a moratorium on housing and transport infrastructure, including the new road, while national discussions are still under way over housing, transportation and immigration.


When feedback led to Govt changing course
Straits Times 30 Mar 12;


The issue: The Government had planned to reclaim the 100ha wetland on Pulau Ubin for military use, with works slated to begin in January 2002. Its rich biodiversity had remained unknown to most until nature lovers raised that fact at a public forum on land use in May 2001.

The process: News soon spread of Chek Jawa's fate, and its unique ecology. Numerous experts, Ubin residents and ordinary citizens wrote to the press and petitioned the Government, urging them to preserve Chek Jawa. In response to the vocal campaign fronted by nature enthusiasts, the authorities consulted academic experts and took in citizen submissions. Then National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan and officials visited Chek Jawa to assess the situation for themselves.

The outcome: A month before works were to begin, the authorities announced that plans to reclaim the wetland would be shelved for at least 10 years.


The issue: When certificates of entitlement (COEs) were first launched in May 1990, winning bidders could transfer their certificates to another party. Many blamed high COE prices on speculators seeking to make a quick buck by 'flipping' their COEs to genuine car buyers.

The process: In the months following the first COE auction, many, including the Automobile Association of Singapore, urged the authorities to make COEs non-transferable to eliminate speculation. The topic was also widely discussed at grassroots forums and in the press. The Government stuck to its guns initially, but the sustained chorus of opposition convinced it to reconsider. In June 1991, the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications, after consulting interested parties, recommended a trial on non-transferable COEs for most cars.

The outcome: In September 1991, the Government approved plans for a year-long trial. When the trial ended, the authorities decided to keep COEs for most cars non-transferable, as the public expressed a clear preference for it despite it having no direct impact on COE prices. This policy remains in place today.


The issue: Hoping to improve members' returns, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board unveiled proposals in January 2004 to give members the choice to divert their funds into privately managed pension plans (PPPs). It hoped to implement PPPs as early as 2005.

The process: The CPF Board published a consultation paper on its website and solicited feedback from financial industry players and the public. This online-based propose-consult-fine-tune model is used frequently by the Government for matters ranging from legislation to MRT station names. In this case, industry players expressed doubts about the PPPs' ability to attract a large enough pool of funds in order to keep fund management costs low. Many respondents also worried about the higher risks members had to bear.

The outcome: By November 2004, the CPF Board had put plans for PPPs on hold as it re-examined their viability. Plans were scrapped from March 2005.

Read more!

18 Rail Corridor possibilities unveiled in exhibition

Tan Weizhen Today Online 31 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE - The Rail Corridor as an arts gallery, set among nature. Old train carriages as arts workshops, a backpackers' hotel and even spas, strewn across the corridor. Community farming to bring residents together along the 26km stretch, which runs from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

These ideas were among the 18 winning submissions unveiled yesterday for the future use of the Rail Corridor, in a competition that the Urban Development Authority (URA) launched last November.

More than 200 local and overseas submissions were received.

As Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin presented prizes to the winners yesterday, he highlighted the importance of "the spirit of boldness and the element of surprise ... in putting forth quite extraordinary ideas and possibilities".

Mr Tan pointed out that Singapore faces constraints in land planning. He said: "This, of all places, requires the element of thinking out of the box, to be able to recreate things, to recreate ideas, to re-package them, in order to create the living space that we need, while at the same time, accommodate development, accommodate the need to maintain our natural heritage, our historical heritage."

He singled out a project by three architecture undergraduates as having the potential to involve residents in nature and the arts at the same time.

Named the Singapore Green Corridor Festival, the team proposed that the linearity of the green corridor is best suited as the backdrop for an arts festival.

They had researched other countries and cities, such as Japan and Edinburgh, and found that many of their arts events take place in rural or natural landscapes.

Besides the arts, weddings, eco-fashion shows and a railway-station museum were other ideas they suggested.

Five Secondary 4 students from Raffles Girls' School took their challenge one step further, surveying 100 people on what they wanted for the green corridor before coming up with their winning concept.

Their elaborate proposal involves old train carriages to be used as temporary workshops for artists, a backpackers hotel, spas, restaurants and flea markets.

The students also suggested that schools could organise history and biology field trips to the area.

The URA says it will study the ideas and concepts from these entries and distil suitable design principles and parameters that can form part of the brief for the Rail Corridor Master Plan and design competition that is being considered.

The entries are on display in an exhibition at the URA Centre until May 11.

Winning ideas for Rail Corridor
Tan Qiuyi Channel NewsAsia 30 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE: A tiger sanctuary in the Rail Corridor - that's one of 18 winning ideas on the future use of the former KTM railway land.

Another winning entry, titled TransFARMation, proposes turning the space into a series of family farms. It impressed the judges with its ideas on ways to bring communities together.

Entries in the "Journey of Possibilities" competition were assessed on how they responded to challenges like bio-diversity, community and heritage.

Ideas range from a bird sanctuary to a Green Corridor Festival. And, another entry calls for the longest art installation in the world.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) organised the competition last November to draw innovative ideas from the public on the future use of the 26km Rail Corridor which stretches from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

The competition received more than 200 submissions from both local and overseas participants.

The "tiger sanctuary" idea was submitted by Australian design studio, Occulus.

The team's submission, entitled "The Tiger's Garden", proposed that the Rail Corridor be returned to the wild to reconnect modern Singapore with its primeval past.

It suggested an elevated trail to bring people up close with nature.

The jury said the proposal went beyond the concept of the city in a garden to conceive Singapore as a city in a jungle.

"The Tiger's Garden" entry won the first prize in the Open category's "Extraordinary and Innovative Ideas for a Great Public Space" issue.

In the Youth Challenge category, a group of Raffles Girls' School students clinched the top prize.

Another 19 ideas were recognised as "honourable mentions" for their creativity and surprising qualities.

URA says it will study the ideas and concepts from these entries and distil suitable design principles and parameters that can form part of the brief for the Rail Corridor Master Plan and design competition that is being considered at the moment.

The entries are on display at an exhibition at the URA Centre till 11 May.

- CNA/ir

Winning ideas for former KTM railway land
Grace Chua Straits Times 30 Mar 12;

Give the Rail Corridor back to the wild, with a trail wending through it, or bring communities together through farming.

These are among the most ambitious winning ideas in a competition on what to do with the former railway land, the narrow strip which wends through Singapore from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

The land was previously used for Keretapi Tanah Melayu train travel, but was returned to Singapore in July 2011.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which organised the competition, awarded prizes to winners in a ceremony on Friday evening.

The competition, launched in November 2011, drew more than 200 ideas from Singapore and all over the world, of which 18 in six categories were picked as top ideas.

The URA will study these entries to glean ideas for a future Rail Corridor master-plan competition, it said in a press release.

An exhibition of the winning entries and honourable mentions will be held at the URA Centre Atrium, 45 Maxwell Road, from March 30 to May 11.

The centre is open Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 7pm, and on Saturdays, 8.30am to 5pm. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays. Admission is free.

Read more!

Nature Society horseshoe crab survey

Keeping tabs on coastal scavengers
Nature Society survey finds all stages of horseshoe crab along the shores
Jose Hong Straits Times 31 Mar 12;

HORSESHOE crabs are not the prettiest of creatures. With a spiky carapace and a long pointed tail, it is easy to see why they are sometimes viewed with fear.

Yet, they are harmless scavengers, and play an essential role in their ecosystem.

Two Saturdays ago, the Nature Society (Singapore) or NSS deployed 160 volunteers along 10 of Singapore's coasts to conduct the Horseshoe Crab Population and Distribution Survey 2012.

The first survey was done in 2009 to record the population density of horseshoe crabs around Singapore's coastline.

There are two species of horseshoe crabs in Singapore.

The mangrove horseshoe crab can be commonly seen on certain shores while the coastal horseshoe crab, suspected to be more mobile in behaviour, is much less frequently encountered on the coast.

And as the NSS discovered through earlier casual surveys, there is something big about these arthropods here.

According to Mr Goh Ter Yang, outreach officer of the NSS, Singapore's north-western shores are 'the only place in the world where there is a known permanently high population density of horseshoe crabs'.

In other places like the American eastern seaboard, huge numbers periodically appear at the beaches, but for the rest of the year, disappear from the shoreline.

Dr Hsu Chia Chi, a member of the NSS executive committee who is spearheading this survey, said the NSS 'has found all stages of horseshoe crab present' along these shores, ranging from eggs to juveniles and adults.

The NSS is halfway through collecting and analysing the results of the survey.

According to preliminary calculations, the horseshoe crab population on Singapore's north-western shores stands at a rough estimate of 200,000.

Various migratory bird species have also been observed coming here to feed, marking this stretch of coast as an important refuelling site for them.

Through studies like this, Dr Hsu hopes to get the Government to recognise the north-western shores of Singapore as a wetland reserve under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty under which governments pledge to maintain wetlands of global importance.

This is key to the conservation of the horseshoe crab, given that the loss of habitat is the single most important factor in their demise, he said.

The Government can continue developing the land beyond the shore 'so long as it protects the mudflat which nobody uses', he said.

Furthermore, the results of this survey have an international significance. According to researchers, horseshoe crabs worldwide are under myriad threats - from being hunted for food to rampant habitat destruction - and their numbers are declining significantly.

Still, three out of four horseshoe crab species are categorised as 'Data Deficient' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, a data list used to identify threatened animals worldwide.

Dr Hsu hopes to change that. Along with various other surveys from across the globe, the results of this survey will be collated and sent to the IUCN.

With all this information, he expects the IUCN to finally be able to give horseshoe crabs the status they deserve.

Dr Hsu believes the survey also serves as a good outreach programme to take participants out of their comfort zone.

But the NSS is still facing a shortage of volunteers 'who are willing to be trained and who will come down on a long-term and regular basis', said the general practitioner.

Such a manpower shortage was the reason no surveys were conducted between 2009 and now.

Still, as things stand, Dr Hsu is upbeat about conservation in Singapore.

'Generally, the public is much more aware of nature, conservation and of environmental biodiversity, and the Government has become more proactive,' he said.

Background story

200,000: The estimated population of the horseshoe crab on Singapore's north-western shores, according to preliminary calculations following this year's survey

SINGAPORE: 'The only place in the world where there is a known permanently high population density of horseshoe crabs.'

Mr Goh Ter Yang, outreach officer of the Nature Society (Singapore), referring to the country's north-western shores

Read more!

Singapore: New public cleanliness agency to use more technology

Today Online 31 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE - To improve cleanliness in public areas, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology will be used to track whether litter bins have been emptied of rubbish.

And the public will be able to dial a single number - 1800 600 3333 - from next month onwards to report any public cleanliness problems.

Such methods are among those the new Department of Public Cleanliness (DPC) will employ, as it takes over as the agency coordinating public area cleaning from other government agencies like the PUB, the Singapore Land Authority and the National Parks Board.

Currently, there are multiple cleaning contracts covering public areas adjacent to each other. The DPC will help ensure greater efficiency and better coordination of such contracts in future.

It will take over the handling of cleaning contracts from now until 2016, as and when the various contracts expire, and also work closely with the Town Councils to look after cleanliness issues within housing estates.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Desmond Tan, who heads the DPC, said: "The new DPC reflects a whole-of-government approach to the cleaning of roads, pavements, drains and other common areas. We will work towards higher standards as we progressively take over the existing cleaning contracts from the agencies. We also hope to provide greater responsiveness to public feedback.

"At the same time, I hope the public will play their part to keep Singapore clean and bin their litter responsibly."

Other technology the DPC will tap on include using Web-based cameras for remote monitoring of cleanliness of public areas. Such methods are less labour-intensive and allow for real-time tracking of the ground situation and contractors' performance.

Besides calling the hotline, the public can also send their feedback on public cleaning issues to and through the myEnv app, now available on iPhones and will be on Android phones shortly.

The agency will introduce more such initiatives progressively over the next two to three years, in tandem with the new integrated cleaning contracts that will be called by the agency.

It will also require successful bidders to be accredited cleaning contractors, as part of the Government's wider measures to boost the cleaning industry.

NEA sets up 'public feedback' hotline
Channel NewsAsia 30 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE: From Sunday, members of public can call the National Environment Agency's (NEA) hotline to report any public cleanliness problems.

The number to call is 1800 600 3333.

The agency's new Department of Public Cleanliness will run the hotline and look into the issue, regardless of the area mentioned.

This may include bus stops, canals, pavements or other common areas.

However, town councils will continue to manage the cleanliness in HDB estates, and the department will work closely with them on this.

The new department will integrate and manage public area cleaning contracts for greater efficiency and better coordination in the long run.

Currently, different public agencies look after the cleanliness of public areas.

For example, the National Parks Board manages cleanliness at parks, while the Land Transport Authority is in charge of cleanliness at footpaths.

From now till 2016, the department will progressively take over the contracts from other public agencies such as national water agency PUB, the Singapore Land Authority and the National Parks Board.

It will also explore ways to make use of technology for cleaning audits.

It plans to introduce Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which can track litter-bins and employ web-based cameras for remote monitoring of cleanliness of public areas.

These allow for real-time tracking of the ground situation and contractors' performance, enabling officers to quickly activate cleaning crew when necessary.

Apart from the hotline, members of public can also send their feedback on public cleaning issues to -- from Sunday -- and through the myEnv app for smartphones.

NEA said more of such initiatives will be introduced progressively over the next two to three years and in tandem with the new integrated cleaning contracts that will be called by the department.

They will also require successful bidders to be accredited cleaning contractors, as part of the government's wider measures to boost the cleaning industry.

Mr Desmond Tan, who heads the new department, said: "The new Department of Public Cleanliness reflects a Whole-Of-Government Approach to the cleaning of roads, pavements, drains and other common areas.

"We will work towards higher standards as we progressively take over the existing cleaning contracts from the agencies.

"We also hope to provide greater responsiveness to public feedback. At the same time, I hope the public will play a part to keep Singapore clean and bin litter responsibly."

- CNA/wk

Call new number to dish dirt on litter
NEA unit will also use technology to check public areas
Straits Times 31 Mar 12;

Overflowing rubbish bins may be on the way out, with plans by the new Department of Public Cleanliness to tag all NEA bins. This will allow officers to keep count of all emptied bins with a quick scan. -- ST PHOTO: MALCOLM MCLEOD

1800-600-3333 - that's the number to call if you see a dirty spot in a public place and want the authorities to do something about it.

The National Environment Agency's (NEA) new Department of Public Cleanliness (DPC) will launch the number tomorrow, which will make it easier for people to give feedback on public cleanliness.

The department also plans to use technology to keep public areas clean, including remote monitoring of litter bins. A tag will be placed in all NEA litter bins, allowing officers to keep count of all emptied bins with a quick scan.

Web-based cameras will also be installed for real-time tracking of the ground situation and contractors' performance.

This will enable officers to activate cleaning crews quickly should there be 'cleaning lapses', said the DPC.

Currently, public cleaning is taken care of by various agencies. Drains, for instance, are under the charge of national water agency PUB. Footpaths are the Land Transport Authority's business, while parks are under the National Parks Board.

This has led to overlaps, which is why the DPC was set up to integrate and manage all public area cleaning contracts.

It will progressively take over these contracts between now and 2016, as and when the contracts expire.

Town councils will work closely with the DPC and continue to take charge of cleaning public areas in housing estates.

To create more feedback channels for people, the myENV app has been launched to collect public response. It is now available on iPhones and will be on Android phones shortly.

The DPC also welcomes e-mail related to public cleaning issues at

Read more!

Singapore: Earth Hour is for the good of our Earth

Euston Quah and Mona Chew Business Times 31 Mar 12;

HERE'S how you can save the Earth: If you were to yell continuously for eight years, seven months and six days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

This is, of course, not a sensible or workable action, but it does drive home a point. This is what the annual Earth Hour - a globally synchronised event, which is observed in Singapore in March each year also seeks to do. For the past four years, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has sought to raise awareness by the countdown to 'lights off' on Orchard Road complete with a live concert. But, just how much impact can we really garner from this annual celebration?

Naysayers will dismiss Earth Hour as a movement driven by empty rhetoric with little substance. But Earth Hour is supposed to bring about a desire to change human behaviour by preserving Gaia (nature's household in Greek), starting with our energy usage.

However, while the Earth Hour might help to raise some awareness, once it is over, nothing much changes afterwards. Perhaps, it will be more meaningful if we all pledge to power down on a sustained basis and by better management of energy, water and other scarce resources.

Take, for example, Singapore's difficulty in finding land to construct landfills. At present, there is the offshore island, Pulau Semakau, which serves as the country's only landfill but with the rising trend of waste generation in a relatively affluent society, how do we prolong the lifespan of this landfill site? Efforts must continually be directed towards sustained waste minimisation and waste recycling, and optimal pricing of waste generated.

Whether it's about prudent resource use or waste recycling, we must do it all, as stakeholders of the Earth's resources. For much of the time, society tends to focus more on production activities, probably because these are much easier to regulate. But the role of consumers is equally crucial as consumption activities are also important drivers of environmental pressure. Although Singapore's recycling rate is already high, largely due to its industrial recycling, more needs to be done by households.

Successful Earth protection will require lifestyle changes and, in Singapore, public policies have for the most part been largely guided by the rigours of economic rationality, such as getting 'prices right' and using financial incentives. But in reality, consumers' responses to public policies may not be totally consistent with pure economic logic. How can we predict en masse consumers' response to incentives when some of them will react differently, in nuanced ways?

Recent research in behavioural economics has also suggested that high dependence on financial incentives and disincentives as a public policy tool may significantly weaken social norms and intrinsic motivation. If individuals seriously care enough about environmental protection, they may even be prepared to incur personal cost to help achieve collective outcomes we perceive as good. Correct incentives or disincentives are certainly necessary in public policy but understanding human behaviour other than through the price mechanism should also be important in the design of public policies.

For example, in a system of fines (which are disincentives) for littering, or giving rebates(which are incentives) for recycling, the problem may not be sufficiently addressed if people's behaviour is also influenced by inconvenience and transaction costs such as the need to easily locate garbage bins, the size of these bins, the ease of separating different types of garbage, how fast rebates are given and existing social and cultural norms.

Paying attention to people's valuation of things that matter, and their priorities is important in designing public policies and allocating scarce resources optimally.

The recent controversy relating to the lost heritage and historical value of the Bukit Brown cemetery versus the need to alleviate traffic congestion (which would save time, increase productivity, reduce injuries from traffic accidents and may even save lives) requires a good understanding of society's preferences, norms, priorities and trade-offs in terms of benefits and costs of the proposed project.

It is crucial to solicit these values not just from road-users, but also from the rest of society - just as we try to determine the best use for a given piece of land, whether it should be commercial, residential or recreational.

How people value such things cannot be readily determined from available market prices. The reality is that so-called 'non-market' intangibles such as aesthetics, scenic beauty, history and heritage, quietude, pride and environmental quality do matter to people. The fact that these things cannot be easily measured in terms of market value does not make them less valuable.

Discovering these non-market values is important in any proper and complete cost-benefit studies of proposals. There are already established methods used by economists and social scientists, and they should at least be explored.

But knowing the methods is only part of the solution; estimating a whole society's values is the other daunting - though not impossible - task that would probably require a public agency.

Balancing economic growth and protecting the environment is not easy. We, as a society, need to understand the trade-offs by knowing the benefits and costs of any proposals; getting the values for both market and non-market intangibles from both users and non-users; soliciting society's priorities and preferences; and getting the incentives and disincentives right.

This would go a long way towards resolving seemingly difficult questions on allocation of scarce resources while protecting the environment.

It would be worthwhile to reflect on this during the coming Earth Hour today.

Euston Quah is professor and head of economics at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also president of the economic society of Singapore. Mona Chew is completing her PhD in development economics at the same university.

Read more!

More firms taking Earth Hour beyond just 60 mins

But mainstay of the green movement - lights-out - will take place at 8.30 tonight
Lim Wei Sheng Business Times 31 Mar 12;

IT may last only an hour, but the significance of Earth Hour should endure.

At 8.30 pm, darkness will sweep over the Singapore skyline as facades and billboard lights alike are snuffed out. This has been an annual affair since Singapore's first Earth Hour in 2009.

The lights-out kickstarts a flurry of activities from a human formation at Ngee Ann City to a live 'junkyard' percussion performance at 313@Somerset and movie screenings for foreign workers by Keppel Group.

Dining in the dark will be the night's special for Resorts World Sentosa and Park Regis Hotel, while Four Seasons Hotel and Rasa Sentosa Resort are promoting menus or recipes that use energy-efficient cooking methods or natural ingredients.

More than 300 corporate organisations will be part of this year's Earth Hour, the largest thus far. 'There is truly a lot of buzz about Earth Hour,' said Tan Yi Han, a senior volunteer for ECO Singapore. Online, terms such as 'earth hour 2012'and 'environmental pollution' were searched 40 times more frequently on Yahoo! in the lead-up to March 31.

However, the cornucopia of events is a cause for concern for some. 'The activities in Singapore are too piecemeal,' said Jenny Marusiak, deputy editor of news portal 'This year's I Will If You Will campaign was a great chance to pull people together around the environmental cause, but we (only) saw commendable but isolated efforts from individual businesses and groups,' she commented, referring to this year's theme which encourages people to undertake environmentally friendly practices by offering incentives in return.

Almost all companies participating in Earth Hour this year are engaged in the hallmark lights-off activity, but fewer have customised activities in line with the campaign premise, choosing to host more generic events instead.

Still, some have proven themselves game for this year's theme. The few that have include Phillips Lighting Singapore - pledging to donate $100,000 worth of LED bulbs if 100,000 households make the switch to a least one LED lighting solution. Carrefour plans to donate up to $10,000 if customers purchase an eco-bag at $1 each. The Royal Plaza on Scotts introduced a philanthropic dimension, pledging to donate sales proceeds from its eco-friendly soya candles to the APSN Centre for Adults upon support from at least 500 hotel guests.

I Will If You Will is set to be a mainstay. Said Diana Chng, communications manager for organiser World Wildlife Fund: 'Over the next three years, we will be executing the IWIYW theme to further engage individuals, businesses, governments and agencies.'

There is also the perennial question of what happens after the lights flick back on. 'What's lacking in these activities is a sense of continuity and doing things on a more frequent basis,' said Jose Raymond, executive director of the Singapore Environment Council. This desire is echoed by the organisers. 'It is not a numbers game. Our aspiration from the beginning was to go far beyond the hour itself,' says Ms Chng.

Encouragingly, the green cause is spreading across corporate calendars. CapitaLand is launching a Wear Less Day on every first Friday of the month, during which employees will dress down in turned-up air-conditioning. Others intend to use festive dates as green platforms, with The Singapore Cruise Centre hosting a Save the Shark road show during Chinese New Year, and City Square Mall organising an event where shoppers transform mailers into hanging Christmas tree ornaments.

Some businesses have risen to the call for meaningful and sustained CSR efforts. Said Fiona Yeo, marketing executive for Body Shop Singapore: 'We have consistently avoided excessive packaging for our products. Only 3 per cent of our entire inventory has secondary packaging, mostly due to regulatory reasons.'

Shangri-La Resorts and Hotels has also announced plans to phase out bluefin tuna and Chilean seabass as part of its sustainable seafood policy.

Jones Lang LaSalle's Asia Square has an in-house biodiesel generation plant which recycles waste cooking oil from F&B tenants, a first in Singapore, according to project director Mark Rada.

'Responsible businesses are not just profitable . . . they measure and contribute to positive environmental and social impacts,' noted Thomas Thomas, executive director of the Singapore Compact for CSR.

Lights out for Earth Hour
Celebrations to be held in Orchard, Marina Bay and West Coast tonight
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 31 Mar 12;

LIGHTS will be darkened across Singapore for a good cause tonight.

Celebrations for this year's Earth Hour, which encourages people to switch off their lights for one hour, will expand beyond the main event in Orchard Road.

The global climate change movement will also be marked by festivities at West Coast and Marina Bay.

Started in Sydney in 2007, the annual lights-out has spread to more than 5,000 cities and towns across 135 countries, and is rapidly gaining traction in India, Indonesia, China, Latin America and the United States.

Last month, the campaign's organisers said they would move their headquarters from Sydney to Singapore by May to take advantage of the Republic's technological prowess and location within Asia.

At Orchard Road tonight, malls such as Ion Orchard which have dazzled Singaporeans with their bright facades will go dark for 10 hours, starting from 8.30pm.

Activities along the prime shopping street will include dance and music performances. A 'fashion swop' at 313@Somerset will also allow women to exchange clothes and accessories with one another from 4pm onwards.

Meanwhile, at Marina Bay, a workshop to create light-related art pieces will be held in the evening at The Lawn, a public open space next to the Marina Bay Financial Centre.

The animated movie Kung Fu Panda 2 will be screened for free at the lawn from 8pm, and food and drinks will be sold.

West Coast residents can opt to join their neighbours instead at Block 728, West Coast Promenade, Clementi West Street 2. Grassroots organisers have arranged an evening of performances, arts and craft booths and a night walk from 7pm.

The theme for this year's campaign is 'I Will If You Will', aimed at promoting Earth- friendly practices beyond the annual celebration.

Radio station Power 98 FM deejay Derrick Siu, for example, has pledged to take cold showers for three months if 800 people commit to taking them for three consecutive days.

Earth Hour is from 8.30pm to 9.30pm tonight.

Read more!

Some corals tolerate heat better than others

Grace Chua Straits Times 31 Mar 12;

WHAT does not kill a coral reef can make it stronger, especially when it comes to high ocean temperatures.

A team of researchers, led by scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS), has found that some corals seem able to adapt to high temperatures that cause other corals to bleach and die.

Corals - the rich undersea habitats of fish and other marine life - are actually colonies of tiny animals called polyps, which rely on algae inside their bodies to make food from sunlight.

When they are stressed by unusually warm, polluted or acidic water, they eject these algae, which produce a ghostly white appearance. In 2010, high ocean temperatures during the El Nino weather phenomenon caused corals to bleach across the tropics, from the Philippines to Costa Rica.

But the researchers found that corals around Singapore and the Malaysian island of Tioman, which suffered and survived an earlier spate of high temperatures in 1998, were not as badly hit.

And the branching corals such as Acropora (staghorn corals) and Pocillopora (brush corals) that are typically worst-hit by warming, were not badly affected. Around Singapore, just 5 per cent of Acropora and 12 per cent of Pocillopora died.

Instead, it was the slow-growing, massive corals like Porites (finger corals) which are typically more resistant to warming, that died.

In contrast, the usual pattern was seen at Pulau Weh in Sumatra, which did not experience the 1998 warming episode. Branching corals were bleached while massive corals survived.

The team's work, led by then NUS research fellow James Guest, was published in the journal PLoS One earlier this month.

'First of all, it is important to be clear that we have not proven that adaptation has occurred in populations in Singapore,' said Dr Guest in an e-mail. He is now with the University of New South Wales.

'However, given the patterns that we saw, we suggest that adaptation is the simplest explanation.'

The next experiments, he added, are to figure out the highest temperatures such corals can withstand, how this varies among individual corals and between species, and how the type of algae in corals' cells affects their resilience.

If branching corals can adapt somewhat to climate change, there is hope yet for reefs.

But, Dr Guest said, this does not mean that the threat to reefs from climate change has lessened. Adaptation to warmer seas might still have an impact on coral growth and reproduction.

'In addition, we must build in as much 'resilience' as possible to coral reef eco-systems by managing other stressors such as fishing, pollution and sedimentation,' he added.

Read more!

Extreme Weather Threatens Rich Ecosystems

ScienceDaily 30 Mar 12;

Extreme weather such as hurricanes, torrential downpours and droughts will become more frequent in pace with global warming. Consequently, this increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests.

Human impact means that flora and fauna become extinct at a rate 100–1000 times higher than normal. Climate change has been deemed as one of the main causes of species depletion.

A research team in theoretical biology at Linköping University has, through the use of mathematical modelling and simulation, studied how the dynamics of different types of ecosystems may be affected by significant environment fluctuations.

Linda Kaneryd, doctoral student and lead author of a study recently published in the journal, Ecology and Evolution, says the results were surprising.

“Several previous studies of food web structures have suggested that species-rich ecosystems are often more robust than species-poor ecosystems. However at the onset of increased environmental fluctuations, such as extreme weather, we see that extreme species-rich ecosystems are the most vulnerable and this entails a greater risk for a so-called cascading extinction.”

In a rainforest or on coral reef there are a wide variety of species of primary producers such as green plants and algae. Since they are competitors, relatively few individuals of the same species exist, subjecting them to a greater risk of extinction should external conditions change. This could result in a depletion of food sources for a species of herbivores that, in turn, affects a predator at the top of the food chain. Biologists call this transformation a cascading extinction.

The opposite would apply to an ecosystem whereby few species exist in large numbers and animal species are adaptable generalists.

The researchers create their model food webs following on from their experiences with real ecosystems; what eats what, the composition of the species' life cycles, and how they interact with others. In this study, external conditions are represented as an increasing and unpredictable variation.

“The model we worked with is quite typical. The next step is to introduce actual, detailed climatic data,” informs Bo Ebenman, Professor of Theoretical Biology who supervised Linda Kaneryds thesis.

Read more!