Save MacRitchie Forest: 1. Introduction

posted in: Conservation, Habitat | 15

Note: The MacRitchie forest is under threat with plans to run a rail line through it LINK. Earlier, Saker Subaraj, a 12 year old nature enthusiast posted his concern LINK. BESG is now planning an awareness campaign to highlight the flora and fauna of this forest in an effort to make the public aware of what exactly is at stake.

The MacRitchie forest is part of the larger Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR). The forest serves as a catchment for the first impounding reservoirs to be constructed in Singapore, completed around 1862. The surrounding secondary forest was only protected by Government gazette in 1868. As such, the forest is more than 150 years old. Within the MacRitchie forest are smaller areas of relic primary forest where there are representative giant trees found only in the Bukit Timah forest.

The primary forest at Bukit Timah can be considered a piece of the original Singapore and as such, a natural heritage. As the MacRitchie forest is just as important, Singaporeans should come together and demand that it be left untouched. After all, the forest is already protected as a Nature Reserve.

The forest is rich in animal life. It has been estimated that more than 500 species of fauna can be found here. These include numerous insects, many of which have yet to be described, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Most nature enthusiasts, in casual walks along the forest paths, encounter mostly butterflies and birds. Although the birds may be vocal, they are often difficult to locate. Some of the insects like butterflies are easily seen as they dart from flower to flower, but most others are well camouflaged. As for the plants, many may not be in the flowering or fruiting stage and thus are not noticed in a background of green foliage. To really appreciate the plant and animal life, a series of walks over the different months of the year is necessary. And because of the difficulty of encountering many of these interesting organisms in casual walks, we plan this series.

Credit: YC Wee (text), Wang Luan Keng (image of MacRitchie forest).

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