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More About the Environment

Something you can use for AQ if conservation and the environment come up in Paper 2. As always, comments are welcome.  

Dec 7, 2007
Nature Society moots 2 new spots for attraction
STB studying society's report stressing fragility of proposed site for nature-themed attraction
By Lim Wei Chean

LEAVE that stretch of Mandai forest alone. Build the nature-themed attraction on one of two alternative sites.

This was the crux of the Nature Society's response to the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) announcement two weeks ago that it was releasing a 30ha plot of land in the Mandai area for development into a nature-themed attraction.

The main thrust of the 18-page report, submitted to the STB last Saturday, emphasised the fragility of the proposed Mandai site, which does not fall within the boundaries of the nature reserve.

It said the site is too valuable to be damaged for another attraction which may suffer the fate of Tang Dynasty City in the Jurong Lake area.

Dr Ho Hua Chew, who chairs the society's conservation sub-committee, shared key points in the report, which included suggestions of two alternative sites for development, with The Straits Times yesterday.

STB's vision was to develop the Mandai area into a nature attractions cluster - with the existing Singapore Zoo and Night Safari as anchors.

The new site, about three times the size of VivoCity, along with a new attraction by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, hopes to double the current annual visitorship of 2.5 million to the area by 2015.

The Nature Society gave two reasons why it says the proposed area is a bad spot:

Fragmentation: The nature reserve's forest had been divided into seven 'habitat islands' standing in isolation because of the creation of golf courses, roads, pipelines and expansion of the existing reservoirs.

This results in the loss of humidity in the forest, increased temperatures, invasion and predation by alien and non-forest species, as well as introduction of diseases to forest wildlife to which they have no immunity.

Forest degradation: Forest cover within the Central Catchment Reserve had been cleared to make way for projects like the Zoo and Night Safari (89ha), the covered reservoir at Upper Pierce (11ha) and Nee Soon Firing Range (20ha).

Animals at risk include forest frogs, birds like the fish eagle, chestnut-winged babble; mammals like the mouse deer, pangolin and the rare leopard cat, known to exist only in two areas here.

The society proposes allowing the land, which is full of mature fruit trees like durian and rambutan, to revert back to a secondary forest.

It also seeks to have it designated as an official buffer zone for the nature reserve so it can continue to serve as a forest connector for the forest's wildlife to forage for food.

In its place, the Nature Society identified two alternative spots for the nature-themed attraction.

The first is the ecologically less sensitive area between Yio Chu Kang Road and Lower Seletar Reservoir with its scenic woodlands, scrubland and marshes.

If it has to be in the Mandai area, then let it be the military site bounded by Mandai Track 15, the Bukit Timah Expressway, Mandai Lake Road and the firing range.

This will not only provide enough space for development but also leave enough forest to act as a buffer for the reserve to enable animals to move around.

An STB spokesman said that it has received the report and is looking through it.

She added that STB will be setting up a meeting with the Nature Society to discuss in greater depth the concerns raised.

weichean@sph.com.sg


Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
felix_90
24th Dec, 2007 15:16 (UTC)
Nature-themed attraction?
I find it weird that STB is planning to remove part of the Mandai forest for to build a new nature-themed attraction. Doesn't it sounds like removing nature, and building a new nature?

Yes, if we were to put ourselves into STB position, we know that Singapore need more tourist attractions. With the upcoming IR, Sentosa, numerous shopping malls, zoos, parks, Singapore do not actually have many choices to offer to tourists. So, how can STB meets it's target of S$30billion tourist receipts, which is part of their Tourism 2015 targets? FYI, Singapore is currently on track to achieve its 2007 tourism receipts target of S$13.6 billion. Doubling it within 8 years? I have some doubts on it.
(Refer to http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/318701/1/.html for report)

Look around Singapore and you will see a vast numbers of skyscrapers or buildings. There is not really any nature attraction. Yes, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve may be the one and only worth mentioning. Blame it on Singapore being a small country, blame it on the large population we have (which is still not at the optimal level Singapore can support) if you want.

Personally, I won't agree on a nature-themed attraction. But, can that be the 'thing' that attracts tourists to choose Singapore over Malaysia's Cameron Highlands, or even the great Himalayas? I feel that STB knows what they need to do to strengthen Singapore's position on the global tourism map. However, we also have to take note that forests are important to us, human beings.

Yes, I may seem to be contradicting myself. I believe that we won't be able to comment much until we see the whole idea of the new nature-themed attraction proposed by STB.
brokeface
6th Jan, 2008 03:30 (UTC)
A proposed site for nature-themed attraction?
A proposed site for nature-themed attraction? Pardon me, but it sounds so ironic. I agree with what felix_90 has said, "Doesn't it sounds like removing nature, and building a new nature?" I wonder why some people just can't seem to keep their hands away from nature. They seems bend of destroying nature.

Sure, the tourist industry is vital to our country's survival, but so is the little nature we had left. Besides, the Mandai forest can also be considered a tourist attraction as well, even without the proposed site. Tourists will be able to enjoy nature fully only if the forest is left untouched.
michelleleow
6th Jan, 2008 09:39 (UTC)
the qn to ask?
i guess the qn we have to ask with regards to this article is r environmental interests always incompatible with economic interests?perhaps sadly speaking this is the best solution 4 us to stay competive with our counterpart countries as 4 survivor purposes,sacrifices has to be made and it is nature and in times to come,man will regret his actions and pay a high price 4 his actions as nature depletes.actually man is already paying a high price 4 destroying nature men has started experiencing global warming isn`t it?
le_englishmajor
6th Jan, 2008 12:37 (UTC)
Re: the qn to ask?
Do use proper written English when you respond!
michelleleow
7th Jan, 2008 10:30 (UTC)
Re: the qn to ask?
thanks a lot ms chew for your reminder to use proper english haha thanks
michelleleow
7th Jan, 2008 10:28 (UTC)
the qn to ask? -i am very sorry that i used short forms and i am unaware of it when i post thanks fo
i guess the question that we have to ask with regards to this article is are environmental interests always incompatible with economic interests?perhaps sadly speaking, this is the best solution for us to stay competive with our counterpart countries as for survivor purposes,sacrifices has to be made and it is nature and in times to come,man will regret his actions and pay a high price for his actions as nature depletes.actually man is already paying a high price for destroying nature men has started experiencing global warming isn`t it?there is a price to pay for everything that one has done.there is always the system of cause and effect in nature so whatever man does to harm the environment will sooner or later have a ramification on himself.
andrastevillota
13th Jan, 2008 08:50 (UTC)
hopes to double the current annual visitorship of 2.5 million to the area by 2015?!
So... this tearing down thingy of the Mandai Forest is for... getting people to come and see it... tourism?! Ok, I get it... we must constantly upgrade ourselves; the first Night Safari in the SEA nations is an old claim so now we need a plot of land 3 times the size of Singapore's biggest mall!!! WOW! However, I really do question the cleverness of this project. From what is reported, fragmentation, forest degradation and even the endangerment of wild life will be but some of the negative impacts of this choice. Would having this negative impacts make the nature-themed attraction that much more attractive? And let's say regardless of all these we still manage to set up the area. How long would it last with people going in and out daily, eating and littering in the area, plucking some wild flowers, traumatizing some little pangolin etc?

Some things are more important than money. It's not wise to use EVERY means possible to get MORE money you know... after all... money is all that matters in such decisions isn't it.
ahgui
17th Jan, 2008 13:15 (UTC)
Well, actually it is very hard to balance environment interest and economic interest together. When there is a need for development, which is for economic growth, land space is needed. Therefore, forest, nature and wildlife had to be destroyed for the sake of economic benefit. The TBS wanted to open another tourist attraction area is because they wanted to attract tourist so that they can spend their money here which will help to boom our economy. With stable economy, there will then have stable and safe community which will benefit us. However, is this worth it to make part of the Mandai forest a tourist attraction area? I personally don’t feel that it is worth it. With the IR and some tourist attraction place, I think is enough for now. Perhaps the idea could be implemented in later years without destroying the nature. The reason is because that by looking at our neighbor countries, they do have something that we have. It is peace and stability and peace which our neighbor countries do not have. Example, in Malaysia, they have high crime rate and recently, racial protest happened in their country which turn to violent. Thailand also has political instability. All this make tourist felt unsafe to travel. Thus, allowing Singapore to be the alternative place for vacation. Hence, there is actually not much of a need to another tourist attraction in the stake of sacrificing the environment.
(Anonymous)
17th Jan, 2008 13:22 (UTC)
corrected version
Well, actually it is very hard to balance environment interest and economic interest together. When there is a need for development, which is for economic growth, land space is needed. Therefore, forest, nature and wildlife had to be destroyed for the sake of economic benefit. The TBS wanted to open another tourist attraction area is because they wanted to attract tourist so that they can spend their money here which will help to boom our economy. With stable economy,then there will then have stable and safe community which will benefit us. However, is this worth it to make part of the Mandai forest a tourist attraction area? I personally do not feel that it is worth it. With the IR and some tourist attraction place, I think is enough for now. Perhaps the idea could be implemented in later years but without destroying the nature. The reason is because that by looking at our neighbor countries, they do have something that we have. It is peace and stability which our neighbor countries do not have. Example, in Malaysia, they have high crime rate and recently, racial protest happened in their country which turn to violent. Thailand also has political instability. All this make tourist felt unsafe to travel. Thus, allowing Singapore to be the alternative place for vacation. Hence, there is actually not much of a need to bulid another tourist attraction in the stake of sacrificing the environment.

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )