NParks to use nature-based solutions to protect coastlines on Pulau Ubin, Environment News & Top Stories


SINGAPORE – The rustic isle of Pulau Ubin is named a treasure trove of biodiversity. But plans are afoot to be certain that nature continues to flourish on the island within the Republic’s north-east, and isn’t threatened by coastal erosion or sea degree rise.

From subsequent 12 months, the National Parks Board (NParks) will start two nature-based coastal safety tasks to safeguard Ubin’s northern and southern coastlines by restoring eroded areas and defending them from future sea degree rise.

These efforts comply with different profitable measures NParks have carried out, on Pulau Tekong and in Kranji on the mainland.

The upcoming initiatives on Ubin had been introduced by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee on Saturday (Sept 24), on the annual Festival of Biodiversity, which celebrates the Republic’s native wildlife. This 12 months is the tenth version of the occasion.

“We will probably be embarking on two new and extra intensive coastal safety tasks in Pulau Ubin. These will probably be carried out in partnership with the neighborhood: one on the northern shoreline, and the opposite within the south, at Sungei Durian,” stated Mr Lee on the occasion on the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

“This will restore the island’s coastlines and mangrove habitats, and convey again extra of the island’s wealthy biodiversity by addressing ongoing erosion and habitat loss.”

Ubin’s northern shoreline is at the moment dealing with erosion, wrought by modifications in land use on the island and the impacts of waves and vessel site visitors. The island was used for granite mining within the nineteenth century, and later for aquaculture.

Restoration works on a 2.2km stretch of that shoreline are anticipated to start subsequent 12 months utilizing a mixture of pure and man-made infrastructure.

This contains the set up of armour rocks to type cliff-like constructions, or headlands, spaced 200m aside and supplemented with sand in between, stated NParks. This creates irregular, wavy seashores that can assist to prolong the shoreline farther out from the place it’s at present.

To “soften” these headlands and improve the habitat for wildlife, inter-tidal rock swimming pools and salt-spray tolerant crops will probably be launched to the realm, the Board added.

The erosion can also be affecting the mangroves rising alongside Ubin’s northern coast.

NParks plans to stop additional lack of mangrove bushes there by constructing a sloping construction made from rocks alongside the shoreline referred to as a revetment to act as a barrier between sea and sand. Soil positioned in biodegradable baggage will probably be positioned underneath the rocks to facilitate the pure development of mangrove crops alongside the stony construction.

As for the southern coast of Ubin, NParks stated it is going to be working with scientists, volunteers and marine conservation teams to assess how deserted aquaculture ponds there might be made into richer mangrove habitats.

Even although the ponds have been fallow for years, mangrove has regenerated in solely the shallower components of the ponds, which might attain depths of 5m.

New mangrove shoots rising from under the granite rocks at Kranji Coastal Nature Park on Sept 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

NParks stated doable methods may embody elevating the pond beds and enhancing water circulate to guarantee a gradual provide of mangrove propagules (or younger mangrove crops) from mature crops. “This will assist produce a self-sustaining ecosystem,” stated NParks.

Further technical assessments, planning and detailed designs are ongoing, with plans to start works in 2023.

Mr Lee stated planting bushes and shrubs, in addition to enhancing and restoring mangroves alongside Singapore’s coasts, can assist defend Singapore from rising sea ranges, whereas offering key habitats for marine and coastal species to thrive.

An Egret seen feeding alongside the coast at Kranji Coastal Nature Park on Sept 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Such a nature-based technique was first piloted on Tekong in 2010, when NParks used a mix of synthetic constructions and nature to scale back coastal erosion. The undertaking efficiently stopped coastal erosion and prevented the additional lack of mangrove within the space over the past decade, stated NParks.

“Learning from this expertise, we lately accomplished an analogous coastal safety undertaking at Kranji Coastal Nature Park, bordering the coast of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve,” stated Mr Lee.

With the assistance of greater than 250 volunteers, virtually 800 bushes and shrubs had been planted to restore and improve the coastal website, together with uncommon species such because the Ormocarpum cochinchinense – a local tree beforehand thought to be extinct in Singapore.

Nature-based solutions to local weather change are more and more being mentioned globally, as international locations search to scale back their carbon footprint and adapt to local weather impacts.

Mangroves are habitats that may assist on each fronts.

One, they’re wealthy shops of carbon. The water-logged soil of a mangrove retains carbon within the floor and away from the ambiance, the place it traps warmth and drives local weather change.

A 2015 scientific paper by scientists right here confirmed that the carbon saved in mangrove sediment was 1.7 occasions the quantity saved in secondary forest soil, despite the fact that secondary forests in Singapore made up virtually 16 occasions the mangrove space.

A brand new mangrove shoot at Kranji Coastal Nature Park on 24 Sep 2021.

Two, the complicated root programs of mangrove bushes enable them to lure sediment from the tides as they ebb and circulate. This permits the habitat to preserve tempo with sea degree rise, if the speed of enhance will not be too fast.

In 2019, The Straits Times reported that land in Singapore had modified from being a internet absorber of carbon in 2012 to a internet emitter in 2014, due largely to land conversion from forests and different vegetated areas to settlements.

Asked if the impression of mangrove restoration efforts may make a dent on Singapore’s complete emissions, group director for NParks’ National Biodiversity Centre Ryan Lee stated forest conservation and enhancement was a long-term effort that can play an necessary function in Singapore’s efforts to scale back its carbon footprint.

He added: “Expanding the mangrove forests, together with NParks’ other greening and ecosystems enhancement efforts, helps us better mitigate climate change.”

Other than for coastal safety, Singapore desires to harness different advantages of nature, stated Mr Lee.

This contains planting extra bushes, particularly in city areas, to cool the environment; and turning concrete canals and reservoirs into naturalised rivers or lakes to improve flood resilience.

As vegetated plots take in extra water than concrete, naturalising water our bodies can assist to scale back the quantity of run-off in heavy rain from coming into the drainage system and overwhelming it.

He added: “In these methods, nature-based solutions can assist to protect our coastlines, cool the atmosphere, and enhance our flood resilience.”

At the identical time, such solutions may create new habitats and join current ones, serving to Singapore higher preserve its biodiversity, he stated.

The Republic is already reaping the advantages of the conservation efforts through the years, Mr Lee stated.

An ongoing assessment of Singapore’s wildlife stock by NParks and native biodiversity specialists, discovered that 40 species at the moment are extra plentiful right here than earlier than.

Migratory Whimbrels seen on a mud flat at Kranji Coastal Nature Park on Sept 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Straits Times reported final month that mammals on the brink of extinction are making a comeback. Five species – the smooth-coated otter, lesser mousedeer, Sunda gradual loris, trefoil horseshoe bat and lesser false vampire bat – went from critically endangered to endangered.

The lesser bamboo bat is now thought of susceptible to extinction, when beforehand it was seen as critically endangered.

Two different bat species at the moment are listed as species of least concern, which implies they don’t seem to be underneath menace of extinction. The narrow-winged pipistrelle had beforehand been thought of critically endangered whereas the black-bearded tomb bat was deemed endangered.