The map of Singapore’s ravaged 19th century forests in H. C. Hill (1900)

Maps are critically useful in any examination of Singapore’s landscape, and Hill’s (1900) report is shocking in the account of the extent of forest loss, after 81 years of colonial rule.   Hill1900map

Report on the present system of forest conservancy in The Straits Settlements with suggestions for future management by H. C. Hill. Singapore, 1900.


In May and June 1900, H. C. Hill, the Conservator of Forests of the Indian Forest Service, studied published reports and visited forest reserves in Singapore with H. N. Ridley (Director of the Botanic Gardens) and W. L. Carter (Collector of Land Revenue). 

He includes a map in his report which is available online. It reflects the extensive exploitation which the Singapore landscape suffered at the time. His language too reflects the insult on the landscape, and he makes recommendations for management, relevant to the land use at the time. 

For an idea of subsequent changes to the landscape, see NUS’ Historical Maps of Singapore. 

For Natalie Quah, who asked for this in the midst of her lecture preparation.