Best of our wild blogs: 26 Jan 19

Night Walk At Pasir Ris Park (25 Jan 2019)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Nature parks and reserves to receive boost against climate change

NICHOLAS KHONG Today Online 26 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE — When Rifle Range Nature Park reopens to the public next year, visitors will return to a forest that is more resilient to climate change and caters better to native animals such as the Sunda Pangolin.

They will see a larger number of native plants such as Kumpang trees.

There may even be a chance for them to see the Common Palm Civet climbing new aerial rope bridges across Rifle Range Road, or the pangolin crossing beneath it using underground tunnels.

Rifle Range Nature Park is one of the eight nature parks buffering the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve that the National Parks Board (NParks) will restore over the next 10 years.

Announcing the Forest Restoration Action Plan on Friday (Jan 25), NParks said that it will also restore disturbed patches within the two nature reserves, which cover more than 3,000ha — around 4 per cent of Singapore’s land area — and are home to around 40 per cent of Singapore’s native flora and fauna.

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Turn trash into treasure, says Masagos

Generating new economic value from waste the way forward for Singapore, region: Minister
Chang Ai-Lien Straits Times 26 Jan 19;

Transforming trash into treasure is the way forward to safeguard the future of Singapore and the region, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli at a key environment meeting yesterday.

Countries need to embrace a new form of economic growth and adopt circular economy approaches, and not be purely reliant on resource exploitation, he said.

"By transforming waste into resources, we will generate new economic value from something that would have been thrown away," he said, pointing out that new industries can emerge where skilled workers design innovative products and manufacturing processes for waste.

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First phase of Cross Island Line to be completed by 2029

FARIS MOKHTAR Today Online 25 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE – Construction of the first phase of the new Cross Island Line (CRL), which will have 12 MRT stations starting from the Aviation Park in Changi to Bright Hill in Bishan, is expected to begin next year and completed by 2029.

The 29km long line will benefit more than 100,000 households and cut travelling time by 50 to 70 minutes, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Friday (Jan 25).

The stations on the first phase of the CRL will be located at: Bright Hill, Teck Ghee, Ang Mo Kio, Tavistock, Serangoon North, Hougang, Defu, Tampines North, Pasir Ris, Pasir Ris East, Loyang and the Aviation Park.

To support this MRT line, Mr Khaw said that a new 57-hectare depot at Changi East will be constructed to provide stabling and maintenance facilities for up to 80 trains.

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Listening to trees to care for them better: The work of an NParks arborist

About 200 National Parks Board (NParks) staff look after some two million trees in public places around Singapore, including along roads and streets, fields and over 300 parks. Here’s a look at how they carry out their work.
Fann Sim Channel NewsAsia 26 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE: “A lot of trees hold stories that they can’t tell you,” said National Parks Board (NParks) arborist Robin Ong.

“For example, 'I’ve been hit by a car 20 years ago and therefore I have this defect at my feet',” he added.

The 33-year-old is one of 200 arborists or tree doctors employed by NParks to manage about two million trees growing in public spaces around Singapore.

“They can’t speak (so) we need to come in and speak on their behalf to ensure that they have all the care they require,” Mr Ong told Channel NewsAsia at a field along Evans Road where several towering rain trees are being checked.

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Malaysia: Wild orchids under threat

Nur Aqidah Azizi New Straits Times 25 Jan 19;

SEREMBAN: The Negri Sembilan Forestry Department is monitoring the illegal harvesting of wild orchids after receiving information from villagers and Orang Asli.

“Undoubtedly, wild orchids have high demand due to their unique and distinctive colours. They can also be cross-bred to produce new orchid varieties,” said director Salim Aman.

“The price of wild orchids can reach thousands of ringgit.

“The result from cross-breeding can be sold on the commercial market locally and internationally at a very high price.”

Salim said illegal harvesting could lead to the extinction of scarce wild orchid species.

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‘Worrying’ rise in global CO2 forecast for 2019

Levels of the climate-warming gas are set to rise by near-record amounts, Met Office predicts
Damian Carrington The Guardian 25 Jan 19;

The level of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is forecast to rise by a near-record amount in 2019, according to the Met Office.

The increase is being fuelled by the continued burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests, and will be particularly high in 2019 due to an expected return towards El NiƱo-like conditions. This natural climate variation causes warm and dry conditions in the tropics, meaning the plant growth that removes CO2 from the air is restricted.

Levels of the greenhouse gas have not been as high as today for 3-5m years, when the global temperature was 2-3C warmer and the sea level was 10-20 metres higher. Climate action must be increased fivefold to limit warming to the 1.5C rise above pre-industrial levels that scientists advise, according to the UN. But the past four years have been the hottest on record and global emissions are rising again after a brief pause.

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