Bukit Batok hillside park area hiking trip, 8 January 2023

We are the eyes, ears and voice of the voiceless flora and fauna who cannot speak up for themselves. (Photos by Jimmy Tan)

Thanks to my hiking buddies, we had an immersive forest bathing experience, known in Japanese as “Shinrin-yoku” on 8 January afternoon.

Our climbing along the steep slopes shows us how important the trees are in holding the soil together, while also helping us to stabilise ourselves. (Top left map by 99.co; photo by Jimmy Tan)

The trees in the forest are truly our friends, as they provide shade, fresh air and immune-boosting phytoncides, even as they prevent soil erosion and cool the urban heat island effect, among many other ecosystem services.

I hope that the forest can be spared from further removal for BTO (Build To Order) housing development in this area, especially since the application rates for the BTO launches in Bukit Batok have been relatively low.

As noted in our feedback to the authorities last November:

“Although Bukit Batok Hillside Park area is relatively small and seemingly insignificant compared to other bigger forests in Singapore, it may well be our weakest link because any further disruption along this part of Bukit Batok nature corridor may irreversibly affect the safe movements of fauna (including pollinators and seed dispersers vital for our food security) between Western water catchment and Central catchment nature reserve.

The physical and mental well-being of our residents living in the vicinity is also at stake.”

P.S. A wild boar was seen by some of us at BBHP hill 2, which demonstrates that it most likely uses the forest here as an ecological corridor to move between Tengah forest and Bukit Batok nature park.

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