– NParks portal shares details of trees in parks and streetscapes

The NParks’ portal launched today revealed the identify of the cluster of trees at the western end of the pond in Kent Ridge Park which we walked past during the Battle of Pasir Panjang Anniversary Walk. They turned out to be Calophyllum soulattri, a critically endangered (CR) species native to Singapore. [Thanks Ivan Chew for the head’s up this morning!]

A click of the species name calls up the relevant page in the NParks Flora & Fauna Web where more information is available about the plant.


Trees which are not along a public road may not be included as those may be privately managed and not in the main database. I looked up trees in NUS immediately but no joy – as yet. The portal does advise patience as there are subsequent phases.

Ohhh the pruning schedule is included! [Thanks Joys Tan for highlighting that!]

Screenshot 830 has an option to indicate if a tree is flowering, but I imagine Facebook or Instagram may still be an easier and quicker way for most to share information. It could be a supplemental tool for students are wondering about the identity of a tree a hornbill landed on, or if a tree has a wide enough tree trunk to tie a camera trap around to monitor roadkills.

Meanwhile, friends online have already come up with a wishlist to provide as feedback for future revisions to improve useability. For now, though, we’re really happy to be able to confirm identities and look up details of some of our carbon-sequestering friends in Singapore.

Fung Tze Kwan said on fb,

“I went to click a couple [of trees] in my neighborhood to double check [their identities]. Can send treemail & give virtual hugs too lol. I found my fav kapok tree and gave it a hug. I used to visit it every weekend for a year when I was doing forest work there.”

Screenshot 829

Fung Tze Kwan with her favourite kapok tree in 2012

Lots of people are happy about this, thanks NParks!


“Least Concerned” – Green Humour

At the Biodiversity Friends Forum Macaque Watch workshop last Saturday, we briefly discussed the conservation status of the long-tailed macaque.

The volunteers looked up the classifications defined by the IUCN Red List briefly and were able to recall various categories which we matched to a some Singapore species.

Screenshot 740

Then on Facebook I saw this comic by Rohan Chakravarty at Green Humour which tickled me to no end, because it is both informative and tragic.

He includes the five categories we battle for, from Least Concern to Critically Endangered, skipping the extinct and data deficient categories and makes a significant point:


I think we can use the cartoons in our workshops and we’ll add “Concerned” (anyone who tries) and “Least Concerned”.

You can follow Green Humour on Facebook..

Habitat restoration is more than planting trees

Last night, Ridge View Residential College’s Dr Chua Siew Chin and I discussed the steps we would need for the habitat restoration programme we have undertaken at Chestnut Nature Park, with participation from the community through Friends of Chestnut Nature Park.

Two community enrichment planting events have been facilitated by NParks who provide a good mix of species amongst the 50 stems. With their supervision, the community is quite easily able to plant trees, which is both exhilarating and educational. So we will pin down a few dates this year for everyone to plan.

That activity motivates us to discuss the outstanding issues – long-term aspects which are tougher to carry out: seed and seedling collection, nursery work (being carried out by UWC), weeding out aggressive species (assisted natural regeneration), soil and leaf litter sampling, phenology monitoring and a youth education programme.

Now that we hammered out a draft plan, we will flesh it out into a proposal and seek reviews. This is not something we will achieve overnight, but with half-yearly markers, it will move along.

Dovetailing it with likeminded individuals and programmes will certainly help. And in the college (RVRC) we will offer a multiple-component programme as a Forum in the new Year 2 programme.

If you are interested in forest work, let us know!


Sat 13 Jan 2018 The 1st Biodiversity Challenge: Human-Wildlife Co-existence (open to all)

Biodiversity Friends Forum is a project I work on with NParks’ National Biodiversity Centre un der the Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore. It began with the forum in August which helped us connect with individuals interested in nature and the environment.

That kicked off a mentorship and fireside chat series and from those interactions, we decided a “Careers in Conservation” workshop was necessary in November. The third event now unfolds, from Minister Desmond Lee’s challenge to youth to tackle a current issue: human-wildlife co-existence. This is all possible because of Linda Goh’s team of Mika Tan, Joy Wong and Goh Pei Shuan at NParks who do the heavy lifting. I am catching up with them now that exams are over!

This event is suitable even if you have little or no knowledge – simply learn during the sessions, get up to speed with some reading, and enjoy the visits with experts in the field. It will be quite the eye opener!

In January 2018, Biodiversity Friends Forum will launch the first Biodiversity Challenge: Human-Wildlife Co-existence, an idea for introducing youth to the issues which was mooted by Second Minister for National Development, Mr. Desmond Lee, after the first forum in August.

Did you hear about our otters turning up on Changi Airport’s tarmac or read about wild boar sightings or hear about critically endangered sea turtle hatchlings at East Coast beach? What do you do when you encounter wildlife in urban settings? How can we manage human-wildlife interactions in Singapore?

Learn from experts and implement ideas, join us on a journey to solve a Biodiversity Challenge on human-wildlife co-existence!

The first step starts here:
BFF Biodiversity Challenge: Human-Wildlife Co-existence
Seminar and Workshops: 13 Jan 2018, Saturday
8:30am – 4pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Limited spaces, register by 5 Jan!

Suitable for all students in JC, ITE, polytechnic; undergraduates, fresh graduates or young working adults (aged 16-30) interested in human-wildlife interaction issues in Singapore. No prior knowledge required.

For queries, email: Biodiversity Youth Singapore at



LKCNHM webpage revamped so fix old URLs for Singapore Biodiversity Records, Nature in Singapore & Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

If your search for free pdfs from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum’s publications have been stymied due to invalid links, fear not – the volumes are all still online with the same filenames.

The reason for the 404 error reports? The website has been upgraded (cue gnashing teeth).

Screenshot 393

Well, this just means editing the URL to account for the new directory path: app/uploads/4 digit year/2 digit month. If you remember to insert “app/uploads” after the root URL, you can ientify the year but will have to guess the month.

Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

Nature in Singapore

Singapore Biodiversity Records

You can visit the individual “volumes” pages for the publications, and navigate from there (remember to apply year filter:


OCBCcares Fund for the Environment – how to submit an competent proposal? Training workshop on Thu 24 Aug 2017: 4.00pm – 7.00pm

OCBCcares Fund for the Environment is inviting project proposals for their grant call with a deadline in November 2017. This is a competitive grant so proposals need to be clearly and effectively crafted. To prepare applicants, a training workshop is offered on Thu 24 Aug 2017: 4pm – 7pm.

More details at


Dr Jane Goodall visits Singapore – JGIS hosts a public talk and dinner (6th August 2017)

Dr Jane Goodall is visiting Singapore, 6th – 8th Aug 2017 and theme for her visit is “Living in Harmony with Nature & Wildlife”.
The following public events are hosted by the Jane Goodall Institute of Singapore.

  1. Public talk, “One Nature, Together: Conversations with Dr. Jane Goodall” []
  2. Dinner, “Living in Harmony: A Night of Inspiration with Dr. Jane Goodall” []
  3. Root & Shoots Conference (closed already), “Youth Environmental Stewardship for a Sustainable Future”