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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Over 50% of Singapore’s land area is urbanized. More than 880ha of coral reefs have been mapped within Singapore’s national boundary. Singapore hosts more than 400 bird species (about 167 breeding residents) of which about 73 are presumed extirpated since 1819, and 79 are considered locally threatened. However, historical figures are based on some guesswork. There are also about 62 species of mammals, 43 amphibians and 33 freshwater fish. More than 200 hard corals, 800 marine fish, 550 molluscs, 450 crustaceans, 68 echinoderms and 31 sea fans and whips have been recorded. Marine sponges and ascidians are known to have significant diversity, but are at present poorly studied. Singapore has 2,282 native plant species of which 25.6% are thought to have been locally extinct since 1819. These numbers, however, are continually being revised, as there are frequent discoveries and rediscoveries. Approximately 76 plant species that were considered extinct have been rediscovered in the wild. For example, the palm Orania silvicola was rediscovered in 2006, and the tree Dipterocarpus tempehes was discovered in 2005. Approximately 6.7% of native plants are considered endangered, and approximately 17.7% vulnerable.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

Singapore has established 2 National Parks and 4 Nature Reserves, which are legally protected under the Trees and Parks Act (2005). Here, some of Singapore’s key indigenous ecosystems are found, including lowland Dipterocarp forest, mangroves and freshwater swamp forest, seagrass beds, mudflats, and coral reefs.

Percentage of Forest Cover

The total protected forest cover is 2,000ha (about 3% of land area).

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Singapore has adopted a multi-prong approach to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The Singapore Green Plan 2012 currently serves the role of a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Master Plan 2003 guides land use. There are 17 Nature Areas and 4 Nature Reserves captured under the Special and Detailed Control Plans of the URA Master Plan 2003 and the Singapore Green Plan 2012. Nation-wide, a ration of 8 hectares of parkland per 10,000-capita populations has been adopted. Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are also being integrated into education, industrial planning and development, transport, use of genetic resources and other focal areas.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

The National Parks Board (NParks) is working in partnership with the public, private and people sectors to implement a Plant Conservation Strategy project that aims to restore, maintain and reduce the decline of rare and threatened plant species in Singapore. The Bird Conservation Strategy aims to monitor bird populations at key sites, and propose and implement methods for maintaining and increasing the populations of indigenous species.

Current activities of protecting genetic diversity include review of development plans, impact assessments, and setting up of the National Biodiversity Reference Centre website. NParks carries out programmes on forest restoration, plant salvage, and coral replanting, in collaboration with other agencies.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) conducts the Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Programme (ABC Waters) in collaboration with the NParks. This programme has the potential to enhance the freshwater biodiversity and natural ecosystems in Singapore.

To avoid invasive species, soil checks and water checks are carried out to avoid accidental importation of unwanted pests and microorganisms. There is progressive removal of some invasives (for example, Smilax) from the Nature Reserves.

Studies of vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation measures are being undertaken with a view to elaborating the National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) into a series of implementable plans with time-bound or event-bound targets. There is also a Sustainable Green Technology Building Programme, with incentives provided to the industry.

As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore, represented by the National Parks Board, participates in ASEAN biodiversity related forums such as the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. Key achievements at the regional level include the establishment of ASEAN Heritage Parks and developing the draft ASEAN Framework Agreement On Access to, and Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from the Utilization of, Biological and Genetic Resources.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme