Singapore is a city-state with a land area of about 710 km2. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and yet, harbours rich native biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine.
The wealth of biodiversity can be attributed to Singapore’s strategic location within the Malesian region. Favourable climatic conditions also help to account for the rich diversity of flora and fauna found in its varied ecosystems. The 4 legally protected Nature Reserves cover an area of about 33.26 km2.
In addition to natural ecosystems, managed habitats such as public parks, park connectors, roadside plantings and reservoir parks also support considerable biodiversity, which underscores Singapore’s commitment towards creating a clean, green and blue living environment. Over the past 20 years, Singapore’s green cover has increased from 36 per cent to 47 per cent of the total land area (National Parks Board, 2008). Chapter I examines the status, trends and threats to Singapore’s natural and managed ecosystems.
Singapore signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 12 June 1992 and became a Party on 21 December 1995. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is Singapore’s blueprint for biodiversity conservation. Before its launch in September 2009, the Singapore Green Plan (SGP) 2012 served as Singapore’s NBSAP. Chapter II provides the current status and progress which Singapore has achieved based on the goals and targets outlined in the SGP 2012.
The Singapore Government takes a pragmatic approach in balancing development with biodiversity conservation. The National Parks Board (NParks) is designated as Singapore’s scientific authority on nature conservation and assumes the role of national focal point for the CBD. As the agency responsible for providing and enhancing Singapore’s greenery, NParks manages the 4 Nature Reserves, 2 National Parks, a network of over 100 km of park connectors, 24.16 km2 of roadside plantings and some 320 parks, totalling about 13 per cent of the land area of Singapore (NParks, 2008).
Recognising land, water and energy resource constraints, conserving Singapore’s natural heritage requires strong People, Public, Private Sectors (3P) synergy and partnerships. Chapter III highlights the significant contributions from government agencies, academia, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), corporations and the general public. Multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Plant Conservation Strategy, Hornbill Conservation Project, and Coral Nursery Project are testament to a close-knit 3P approach.
In assessing the effectiveness of our biodiversity conservation strategies and policies, we have adopted a traffic light system to chart our progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target. Chapter IV gives an overview of our evaluation in implementing the CBD, identifying strengths and opportunities for future priorities. We have effected the protection of representative ecosystems and incorporated biodiversity conservation considerations in our master planning process. Additionally, we are seeing our species rehabilitation work bear fruit, e.g. the Oriental Pied Hornbill, a threatened species, has shown increase in the breeding population and distribution in the span of just two years. Future ecosystem and species-specific studies will contribute towards enhancing our monitoring mechanisms for more informed decision making.