Singapore’s lost more than 90% of our mangroves – which is why you should visit them.

From huge wins in the fight to preserve Singapore’s mangroves to interesting animals you can catch a glimpse of, here’s why you should visit Singapore’s mangroves this weekend!

If you’re a fan of exploring Singapore’s green spaces, chances are, you’ve visited Sungei Buloh Wetlands. One of Singapore’s most famous mangroves sites, a treasure trove of flora and fauna resides under its foliage. From the popular fiddler crabs and monitor lizards to migratory birds, Singapore’s mangroves live up to their name as the world’s most productive type of wetland – despite its quickly diminishing land area. 

sungei buloh mangrove singapore

But beyond Sungei Buloh, Singapore was once home to over 75 km2 of mangroves over 200 years ago. That made up about 13% of Singapore’s land mass. Unfortunately, today only 0.5% remains of that amount.

which is why you should visit them.

pulau ubin chek jawa mangrove singapore

With the pursuit for national development constantly in mind (and understandably so!) Singapore’s mangroves aren’t always safe from harm. In 1992, Singapore’s Central Catchment Reserve was almost turned into a golf course. And in December 2001, conservationists in Singapore saw a rare victory when plans were put aside for Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa to be sites of land reclamation (which destroys mangroves and other natural habitats). As home to Singapore’s last coastal flats, this was a huge win for Singapore’s biodiversity.

But this wasn’t achieved on its own. In the second half of 2001, Singapore’s conservationists gathered to campaign against the already slated plans – from independent studies and letters to petitions, stories, and talks, it was the public’s support that saved the mangroves. At one of the organised walks around the area, conservationists even saw over one thousand visitors, something unheard of in Singapore. Now, Chek Jawa looks like it’s a “national park in the making”, and it’s all thanks to Singaporeans’ interest and love for nature. 

more mangroves, more wins for the environment.

mangrove singapore

Besides, it’s no secret that mangroves have a huge, positive impact on the environment. From being a nursery and breeding site for birds, insects, and spiders to being the ideal environment for certain species of seagrass, bivalves, and mud lobsters to call home. Visit one to catch a glimpse of mangrove tree oysters, the edible “coffin nail” telescope snails, and even air-breathing fishes such as mudskippers. 

Mangroves are also known as filters for the ocean. They filter out pollutants, absorb excess nutrients from runoff, and trap sediments – all creating clearer and cleaner waters for everyone, man or animal.

mangrove singapore 2

Plus, with the growing awareness of climate change, mangroves are being studied as a source of “carbon sinks”, for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Which, in turn, helps to reduce climate change. According to ‘Private lives : an exposé of Singapore’s mangroves’, it has been estimated that Singapore’s remaining mangroves may store up to 450,570.7 megagrams of carbon, the equivalent of the average annual carbon emissions of 621,000 residents.

This is not to mention they’re shields against rising sea levels! A study showed that in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, areas with mangrove vegetation saw significantly less damage compared to those without. 

exploring mainland mangroves.

chek jawa mangrove singapore

Although much of our remaining mangroves are located in inaccessible military and state areas, our mainland is also home to at least 12 accessible mangrove and wetland areas! Which means it’s easy to drop by one for a stroll during the weekends. And hey, if you need an easy list, check it out here 😉

Loved this article? This is how you can dive with sharks in Singapore, or check out these 7 underrated plant shops in Singapore!

siti ayeeshah zaki

Writer, dreamer and explorer. When she’s not writing for Strada Visual Lab, Ayeeshah spends her time reading, skating and living life to her definition of fullest.

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