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Nature Conservation in Singapore

A tutorial I did for a class on nature and society

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Nature Conservation in Singapore

  1. 1. Nature Conservation in Singapore A Presentation by November Tan GE2221 Discussion Session
  2. 2. Is there Nature in Singapore? <ul><li>Have you been to the following places? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sentosa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kent Ridge Park </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pulau Ubin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chek Jawa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bukit Timah Nature Reserve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Labrador Nature Reserve </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Is there Nature in Singapore? <ul><li>Do we have the following in Singapore? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coral Reefs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild Dolphins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild Crocodiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild Dugongs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild Otters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild Porcupines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pangolin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flying Lemur </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Where is this?
  5. 5. Sentosa! We have coral reefs!
  6. 6. Find out more <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. Visit the Green Carnival 22 - 24 Oct NUS Forum
  8. 8. What is “Nature”? <ul><li>Always think critically when the word “Nature” is involved. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Environment” is even more vague! </li></ul><ul><li>Green, Blue, Brown and even natural heritage issues! </li></ul>
  9. 9. What is conservation? <ul><li>Who conserves? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The people who can afford time and money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed vs Developing countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientific conservation vs community-based conservation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why conserve? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I want to save the planet!” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or are we really saving humankind? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. What difference? <ul><li>Preserve or Conserve </li></ul><ul><li>Restore or Rehabilitate </li></ul>
  11. 11. Conservation in Singapore <ul><li>Conservation vs Use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public awareness vs recreational overuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conservation vs poaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poaching for sale/collection vs food </li></ul></ul>“ The Bailer snail ( Melo melo ) is listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. We have never seen a living Bailer snail besides at Beting Bronok. He [the poacher] allowed us to take a photo of it. We asked and he said he was going to eat it. We explained it was rare and asked him to leave it behind, but he just walked away. He wouldn't s how us what else he had in his bag.”
  12. 12. Criticism <ul><li>Middle-class politics </li></ul><ul><li>Ecocentrism </li></ul><ul><li>Intrinsic value versus scientific value </li></ul><ul><li>Minority or Ignorance </li></ul><ul><li>Lifestyle or Ethics </li></ul>
  13. 13. Conservation Groups <ul><li>Generalists </li></ul><ul><li>Marine & Inter-tidal </li></ul><ul><li>Terrestrial Flora and Fauna </li></ul><ul><li>Animal Rights and Welfare </li></ul><ul><li>Urban Environmental Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Government 3P / volunteer groups </li></ul>
  14. 14. Selected Groups <ul><li>General Nature Conservation </li></ul><ul><li>Nature Society (Singapore) http://www. nss .org. sg/ </li></ul><ul><li>SEC Green Volunteer Network </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) Volunteers, Toddycats! </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>NParks Volunteers </li></ul><ul><li> http: //cnrv . blogspot .com/ </li></ul><ul><li> http: //uvp . blogspot .com/ </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Eart-H (Joseph Lai) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Simply Green (Dr Chua Ee Kiam) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cicada Tree Eco-place </li></ul><ul><li>Marine Conservation </li></ul><ul><li>Pulau Hantu Blog </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Blue Water Volunteers </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>WildFilms </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Team Seagrass </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Naked Hermit Crabs </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>RMBR Semakau Guides </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore Underwater Federation </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  15. 15. Selected Groups <ul><li>Animal Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetarian Society (Singapore) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore House Rabbit Association http://www. hrss .net/ </li></ul><ul><li>Cat Welfare Society </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Urban Environmental Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Challenge Organisation </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Climate Change Organisation </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>World Toilet Organisation </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore Environmental Council </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>World Wildlife Fund (Singapore) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Eco 4 the World Singapore </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Waterways Watch </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  16. 16. Case Study: Chek Jawa The Rise of Environmental Awareness and Conservation Groups in Singapore?
  17. 17. A (very) Brief History of Environmentalism in Singapore <ul><li>A colonial legacy </li></ul><ul><li>Malayan Nature Society (Singapore) was established in 1921 consisting of “British colonials and scientists” working in Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Changed name to Nature Society (Singapore) in 1992 </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore Environment Council in 1995 but non-government organization? </li></ul><ul><li>Green Volunteer Network in 1997 </li></ul>
  18. 18. NSS “Battles” <ul><li>1988: Conservation of Sungei Buloh </li></ul><ul><li>1991: Kranji Heronry (failed) </li></ul><ul><li>1991: Published Master Plan for Conservation of Nature in Singapore which was adopted in Singapore Green Plan later. </li></ul><ul><li>1992: Lower Pierce Reservoir golf course shelved </li></ul><ul><li>1992: Marina South Duck Ponds (failed) </li></ul><ul><li>1993: Senoko Bird Sanctuary (failed) </li></ul><ul><li>1996: Khatib Bongsu (failed) </li></ul><ul><li>1999: Kranji Marsh Golf Course (failed) </li></ul>
  19. 19. The tide started turning <ul><li>10 November 2001, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan announced that Sungei Buloh would be one of two parks to be gazetted as Nature Reserves together with Labrador Nature Reserve. </li></ul><ul><li>26 December 2001, reclamation at Chek Jawa deferred </li></ul><ul><li>14 January 2002, reclamation at Pulau Ubin deferred </li></ul>
  20. 20. What’s up at Chek Jawa? <ul><li>1991 URA Concept Plan - Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong to be used for high-density housing when population reach 4 million </li></ul><ul><li>$1.4 billion reclamation project o increase these islands by 80% (2,694ha) </li></ul><ul><li>February 2001, villages were resettled to make way for reclamation on Pulau Ubin </li></ul><ul><li>Reclamation was slated to begin in Dec 2001. </li></ul>
  21. 21. What is Chek Jawa? <ul><li>An inter-tidal coastal area located on eastern tip of Pulau Ubin </li></ul><ul><li>“ A natural haven comprising of 6 distinct habitats - coastal forest, mangrove, sandy beach, sandflats, coral rubble and a tiny island named Pulau Sekudu” </li></ul>
  22. 23. Why did we miss it? <ul><li>“ Discovered” by Joseph Lai in Jan 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>Known to villagers but not naturalists, why? </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly seen at low tide only </li></ul><ul><li>Villagers not conservation-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Naturalist groups mostly terrestrial or marine, inter-tidal overlooked </li></ul><ul><li>Conservation efforts bird-driven </li></ul>
  23. 24. Significance <ul><li>Firsts in Singapore: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First time >1000 people turned up at a nature area within 2 days [before deferment] and >2000 people in 2 days [after deferment] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First time government stopped a $1.4 billion reclamation just few days before work due to start and paid millions in compensation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First time NSS is not leading the “battle” </li></ul></ul>
  24. 25. How did they do it? <ul><li>Previously, NSS is just one voice for nature </li></ul><ul><li>During Chek Jawa, there were many individuals and informal groups working separately for one cause </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific surveys and recommendations were given by independent scientists and conservationists </li></ul><ul><li>Public awareness was built through guided walks by scientists - to see the place before it’s lost forever </li></ul><ul><li>Public sentiments collected in “guest books” and petition by different groups; non-agressive </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach of the internet and mainstream media </li></ul>
  25. 26. Social Capital <ul><li>Defined as “an instantiated set of informal values or norms shared among members of a group that permits them to cooperate with one another” (Fukuyama, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Connections among individuals - social networks and norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (Putnam, 2000) </li></ul>
  26. 27. Creating Social Capital <ul><li>Creating Trust </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination of Information </li></ul><ul><li>The Public as a stakeholder; conservation not just for naturalists but for all Singaporeans - national identity and natural heritage </li></ul>
  27. 28. Civil Society Structure Coordinators Volunteers Participants Spontaneous Executive Committee Passionate Members Less Passionate Members Institutionalized
  28. 29. Political Ecology <ul><li>Good scientific information = informed decision? </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of good leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Push for public participation since SM Goh’s term as prime minister </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of sand for reclamation? </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient housing in Punggol? </li></ul><ul><li>Territorial complaints from Malaysia? </li></ul>
  29. 30. So what now? <ul><li>Chek Jawa is NOT a nature reserve. </li></ul><ul><li>Does not have any protected status at all. </li></ul><ul><li>July 2007, a new boardwalk was opened at Chek Jawa - implications? </li></ul><ul><li>10 years deferment, only 3 years left! </li></ul><ul><li>Will be left alone till “needed”; high alert still </li></ul><ul><li>What about other marine areas? Nparks said that each ecosystem only gets one representation! </li></ul>
  30. 31. Class Activity Group Discussions!
  31. 32. Your Task <ul><li>Each project group will choose 1 of 5 case studies on various forms of conservation issues in Singapore. </li></ul><ul><li>You are given 20 minutes to discuss and answer the following questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Each group has 5-8min to present your answers verbally to the class. </li></ul><ul><li>Think critically! </li></ul>
  32. 33. Case Studies <ul><li>Article 1: Bring your own bag day </li></ul><ul><li>Article 2: Release of animals on Vesak Day </li></ul><ul><li>Article 3: Fogging of mosquitoes for the prevention of Dengue </li></ul><ul><li>Article 4: Cutting down of heritage tree , Hopea sangal </li></ul><ul><li>Article 5: Water management regime at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve </li></ul>
  33. 34. Questions <ul><li>What “nature” are we conserving? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are we conserving for? (beneficiaries) </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the actors / stakeholders? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the issues and sensitivities involved? (social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, ethics, etc.) </li></ul>

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  • cmnpc

    Apr. 15, 2009
  • cathee78

    Jan. 4, 2011
  • yunyun923

    Aug. 1, 2011
  • budwa

    Jan. 11, 2015

A tutorial I did for a class on nature and society


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