Nature Conservation and Nature Society (Singapore): 7. Punggol Grassland

on 6th May 2017

Earlier posts: 1. Introduction; 2. Sungei Buloh; 3. Kranji Heronry; 4. Khatib Bongsu; 5. Senoko; 6. Marina South.

I am unable to find the original proposal for the conservation of Punggol Grassland, if ever there was one. However, the Feedback on the Singapore Green Plan (Nature Conservation) 1993 by the Nature Society (Singapore) gives a detailed account (below).

GreenPlan Feedback 1993

The 40 hectares area was made up of abandoned prawn/fish ponds, highly degraded mangroves, grassy areas and unused sewage beds overgrown with weeds (below).

Punggol Grassland 1993

The area had been left relatively untouched for many years and was covered with young growth. Naturally wildlife, including birds, returned to reclaim the area. After all, any abandoned area would be covered with plant growth and as a consequence there would be wildlife. Under such a condition, even my backyard would be rich in birdlife, with a couple of rare, locally endangered species thrown in.

To ask for the conservation of such an area would be unreasonable. But then at that time we never believed we were so. Members of the Nature Society had at that time been thrust into the role of environmental activists as a result of the Sungei Buloh success LINK. And being new to conservation, we were proposing one area of yet-to-be-developed land after another be converted into nature areas. Obviously we were, to put it mildly, more than a little naïve.

With the benefit of hindsight I would now agree that we do not have the luxury of putting aside each and every open space for the birds. Instead we should value our more matured habitats that are already protected as nature reserves and ensure their continued survival.

Hopefully we will become more mature in our thinking on nature conservation after learning from the past.

YC Wee
2nd April 2017

Secretary, Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch) 1978-1990; Founding President, Nature Society (Singapore) 1990-1995

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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