Singapore's Natural Heritage

When Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, the entire album was covered in primary rainforest. Coastal vegetation was also abundant, as the coasts were lined with mangroves. Coral reefs flourished in our surrounding, pristine seas. Over the course of Singapore's development from a coastal village to the flourishing global hub it is today, a lot of Singapore's natural heritage was depleted and destroyed.

Forests were cleared to give way to agriculture, and land was also converted for human habitation and infrastructure development. Singapore's coastal ecosystems also suffered as Singapore became one of the world's busiest ports. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that over 120km2 of land has been added to Singapore's land area since it's founding [1]. To date, more than 95% of Singapore's original forest cover, estimated at 578 km2 has been cleared. Of the remaining 28.6km2 that remain, less than 10% is primary rainforest.

The depletion of Singapore's natural environments has also had repercussions on its biodiversity. Species extinction rates are as high as 87%. The fragmentation of natural habitats has also threatened the livelihoods of species further.
However, all is not lost, as a substantial quantity of biodiversity is still present, and new species continue to be discovered today. The remaining pockets of nature that remain are conserved as nature parks or reserves, and conscious efforts at habitat restoration have also been made.

Furthermore, the Singapore Green Plan 2012 also incorporates the preservation of Singapore's natural heritage into its agenda. In line with the green plan, efforts to conserve Singapore's natural heritage must continue.

Natural Areas in Singapore (via National Parks Board)

Nature Reserves


A full list of parks and park connectors in Singapore, along with a comprehensive location map and photographs can be found here.

1. Tan, H., Chou, L.M., Yeo, D. & Ng, P. (2007) "The Natural Heritage of Singapore". Singapore: Prentice Hall

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