Forest tour at Bukit Batok Hillside Park area

My group members and I experienced the coolness and serenity of Bukit Batok Hillside Park area while we surveyed the secondary regrowth as well as the main natural stream and pond habitat. (Source of base map: EIS report)

On 12 December 2020, I conducted my first tour at Bukit Batok Hillside Park area as a volunteer guide.

Normally, I would baulk at the idea of being a tour guide due to my shy and introverted nature (and being hard of hearing).

But the stakes of losing much of the secondary rainforest habitat and its wildlife are too high.

Even though slightly more than 50% of the area has recently been designated as a nature area, I feel the entire 17-ha ought to be preserved (together with its neighbouring forested hill, which used to be part of the same ridge before they were separated by road construction).

Some may wonder why we should pay so much attention on what seems to be a relatively small forested area.

It is because we care about environmental issues which affect everyone, and we need to keep the big picture in mind.

1. Our biodiversity has been depleted by at least half in the last 200 years, and some endangered species of flora and fauna are found living in Bukit Batok Hillside Park area, including the critically endangered straw-headed bulbuls.

Less biodiversity means more pests and greater risk of diseases, such as dengue fever and zoonotic virus infection.

It also means fewer plants being available for research and medicinal uses.

We need coherent sizeable ecological corridors, not patchy and fragmented ones, to prevent further human-wildlife conflicts and extinction of endangered flora and fauna.

2. Deforestation directly affects the quality of air and the microclimate of the surroundings.

It will result in rising urban heat island effect and flash floods over impermeable surfaces during intense rain.

These in turn have negative impacts on human safety, health and well-being.

According to some research, forests less than 10 hectares in size are generally more vulnerable to disturbance and deterioration of plant and animal life over time.

3. Quality of life for our residents may be compromised by overcrowding of existing spaces.

We need more green space buffers to ease human visitor pressure from our nature reserves.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people have avoided malls and sought refuge in Nature to escape stress/sickness, to heal and to build immunity freely and naturally.

With a recent population decline, we don’t really need more housing, and we can choose to redevelop existing lands if need be.

It is hoped that the group tour will enable the visitors to experience the forest for themselves and help spread the word about the need to conserve Bukit Batok Hillside Park area and its biodiversity in their entirety.

After all, our best teacher is Mother Nature herself.

My thanks go to the following participants, without whom the tour wouldn’t be possible: Miss Irene, Mr CK Tan, Mr Michael and Mr CK Chong.

To sign the petition to save Bukit Batok Hillside Park forests from housing development, click here.


2 thoughts on “Forest tour at Bukit Batok Hillside Park area

  1. Pingback: Why we need to conserve our forests instead of destroying them in the name of unsustainable development – Nature and Us

  2. Pingback: Open petition letter to support conservation of Bukit Batok Hillside Park area to ensure a sustainable future for us – Nature and Us

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