My feedback to Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) on Agri-Food Innovation Park (AFIP) Land Preparation Works at Kranji Woodland – Environmental Study Report

Dear Sir/Madam,

Here is my feedback concerning the Fauna Baseline Study Report dated 5 September 2022. I noted on page 22 of the report that 206 fauna species were recorded in the Project area, with a total of 15 species of conservation signatures and two species of interest.

Kranji woodland, as seen on 19 February 2021 (Photo by Jimmy Tan)

Since a total of 362 trees exceeding girths of 1 m in Kranji woodland were cut down in 2020 before NParks could study on further measures to be put in place to safeguard wildlife, public safety, public health and ecosystems, it is possible that the Project area would have been more biodiverse if part of the forest had not been prematurely cleared (which compromised the results of the environmental study report).

As also noted on page 61, though mammal species of conservation significance such as Sunda pangolin and long-tailed macaque were not recorded during the field assessment, they are identified to be likely present at the Project area.

I noted on page 10 of the report that the AFIP is established as a pilot cluster to catalyse innovation in the food- and agri-tech ecosystems, by bringing together high-tech urban indoor farming (agriculture and aquaculture), food production including alternative proteins, and associated research and development (R&D) activities.

Since AFIP developments may include indoor plant factories, aquaculture hatcheries, insect farms and innovative food manufacturing industries, I wonder how much the Project area will be deforested and concretised with cement and asphalt surfaces?

Should we at least retain 30-50% of the existing forest in Kranji woodland as part of nature-based solutions to mitigating climate change, which are highlighted by National University of Singapore (NUS) at the United Nations climate change conference COP27?

Not only a dense forest can cool the urban heat island effect up to 300+ metres, according to a research study, it can support biodiversity to ensure there are pollinators, seed dispersers and decomposers necessary for agriculture, especially permaculture or organic soil farming.

A food forest cools the microclimate and supports biodiversity, including birds and butterflies (which are pollinators) as well as frogs and dragonflies (which are natural predators of insect pests such as dengue-carrying mosquitoes). (Photo by Jimmy Tan)

Although indoor high-tech farms may generate higher crop yields, an overreliance on indoor food farms could negatively impact Singapore’s future food security, as such facilities are often energy-intensive, and require imported seeds, substrates and fertilisers which are vulnerable to geopolitical forces, as compared to a regenerative, biodiverse, climate resilient food forest.

(To be continued)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s