WIT Press

Conserving Biodiversity: The Experience Of Singapore


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WIT Press


W. Chunneng & O. B. Lay


This paper reviews Singapore’s experience with biodiversity conservation in order to clarify and understand the issues underlying the struggle of conservation within a rapidly developing urban context. In this paper, the history of biodiversity conservation in Singapore and some major phases that influenced the change of biodiversity are summarized. There are 3 main phases in this history – the colonial period, early independence and recent years. The study shows that the small size of Singapore emphasized environmental issues perhaps more quickly and clearly than in other larger nations. Particularly after independence, Singapore demonstrated a government intent on balancing the needs for development against the conservation and protection of the environment and biodiversity. With increased economic development and affluence, there was also a surprising increase in the scope of environmental and nature conservation legislation and campaigns in Singapore. Our review reveals that much of the environmental devastation occurred during the colonial and early independence years. Given the lack of global awareness of environmental issues then, it is creditable that Singapore had already recognised and made some steps towards biodiversity and nature conservation. This awareness is demonstrably increased in recent years. The experience of Singapore is not without its defects and failures. The paper concludes with a discussion of lessons to be drawn both from its success and its failures. Keywords: biodiversity conservation, nature conservation, Singapore. 1 Introduction Biodiversity management is a globally important issue and, despite its small size, Singapore is not exempt from playing its role. Recognising this, Singapore


biodiversity conservation, nature conservation, Singapore.