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Nature Conservation and Nature Society (Singapore): 12. Albizia woodland

on 27th June 2017

Earlier posts: 1. Introduction; 2. Sungei Buloh; 3. Kranji Heronry; 4. Khatib Bongsu; 5. Senoko; 6. Marina South; 7. Punggol Grassland; 8. Lower Peirce; 9. Chek Jawa; 10. Bidadari; 11. Bukit Brown.

Albizia woodland (Photo credit: YC Wee)
Albizia woodland (Photo credit: YC Wee)

In February 2013 a group of Pasir Ris residents was upset that a piece of woodland near their Pasir Ris Heights apartments was about to be developed into an international school (below) LINK. They claimed that the woodland, about the size of two football fields, was a wildlife haven. They were skeptical of the National Parks Board’s survey findings that biodiversity there was relatively low, being “not independent enough.”

straits Times September 1st 2013
straits Times September 1st 2013

To make matters worse, the Nature Society (Singapore)’s Dr Ho Hua Chew chipped in claiming that there were up to 40 species of birds there. Of these, the critically endangered Grey-headed Fish-eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus) and the common White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) have a preference to nest in the Albizia Trees (Paraserianthes falcataria) LINK.

White-bellied Sea-eagle (Photo credit: Jeremiah Loei)
White-bellied Sea-eagle (Photo credit: Jeremiah Loei)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority was adamant that the Pasir Ris patch of Albizia woodland would be developed. Besides its biodiversity being low, the birdlife there could be found in a range of other localities LINK.

The Albizia are softwood trees. Their branches readily collapse during storms, posing a danger to life and limbs. No doubt these trees have a role in attracting wildlife LINK. There is no necessity to chop them down as long as they pose no threat to life and limbs. However, there was no reason why the woodland should not be cleared for development as it was a young habitat and easily replicable.

Albizia woodland canopy (Photo credit: YC Wee)
Albizia woodland canopy (Photo credit: YC Wee)

Only those who fail to see the forest for the (Albizia) trees would fight to retain such habitats.

YC Wee
Singapore
17th 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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