Tag Archives: Central Forest

Singapore’s Important Biodiversity and Bird Areas


Birdlife International Important Biodiversity and Bird Areas (IBA) program helps countries worldwide to identify, protect and manage significant sites of naturally occurring vulnerable bird species and population. It is based on internationally recognized Criteria. Over 10,000 sites have been identified worldwide.

The Nature Society (Singapore) and the Bird Group have identified three such IBAs in Singapore using the accepted international criteria. This is quite significant for a city state like Singapore with one of the highest population density in the world. These IBAs must be protected for the natural health of the island and its people.

They are A) Central Forest B) Kranji-Mandai and C) Ubin-Khatib.

Central Catchment Forest Reserves

Central Catchment Forest Reserves

Bukit Brown LKP

Bukit Brown. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng

A) Central Forest ( 5,446 hectares)

It covers the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Brown Cemetery, Tagore Forest and Bukit. Mandai Forest.

Trigger Species: Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Cyornis brunneata,  and Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus. Sunda Pangolin Manis javanica , Banded Leaf Monkey Presbytes fermoralis and Singapore Freshwater Crab Johora  singaporensis.

Fresh Water Ponds at Kranji Marshes

Fresh Water Ponds at Kranji Marshes

Gemala Nature Areas. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng

Khatib Mangroves LKP

Mandai Mangroves. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng.

B) Kranji-Mandai ( 1,885 hectares)

It covers Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji Marshes, Gemala Nature Areas, Mandai Mudflats and Mangroves, Ama Keng, Stagmont Ring and Peng Siang mash areas.

Trigger Species: Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus.

Ketam Quarry

Ketam Quarry. Pulau Ubin.

Lorong Halus. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng.

Khatib Bonsu Mangroves. Photo: Leong Kwok Peng.

C) Ubin-Khatib ( 14,906 hectares).

It covers Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Pasir Ris Park, Loyang Forest, Lorong Halus, Coney Island, Springleaf Park, Pulau Seletar, Khatib Bonsu and Simpang Grasslands.

Trigger Species: Chinese Egret, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Cyornis brunneata and Sunda Pangolin Manis javanica.

For more details on our IBAs go to http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/site.

Reference: Birdlife International. http://www.birdlife.org.


Central Forest IBA at the Crossroads.


Marshes at MacRitchie Forest

Fresh Water Marshes at MacRitchie Forest

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) are places of international significance for the conservation of birds and other wildlife. Birdlife International’s IBA program identifies, monitors and protects these places with the help of their local partners.

How does a site qualify to be an IBA? They have to meet the following internationally accepted criteria:

A1. Globally Threatened Species:  Sites with species in the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable.

A2.  Restricted-range Species: Sites holding a significant component of a group of species whose breeding distributions define an Endemic Bird Area (EBA).

A3. Biome-restricted Species: Sites holding a significant component of group of species whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to a biome.

A4 (1). Congregations: Sites known to hold on a regularly basis > 1% of a biogeographic population of a congregatory waterbird species. There are three other sub criteria.

IBA Central Forest


Our neighbour Malaysia has 55 IBAs making up the 12,000 IBAs worldwide. Not many people knows that Singapore has our own IBAs. The Nature Society (Singapore) and the Bird Group had identified three Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in Singapore: a) Kranji-Mandai, b) Ubin-Khatib and c) Central Forest . The Central Forest IBA is made up of the Central Catchment Nature Reserves, Bukit Timah Nature Reserves, Bukit Batok Nature Park and Bukit Brown (Google map left ).

All three IBAs satisfy Criterion A1 due to the presence of the globally threatened species. Central Forest for the Straw-headed Bulbul and the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher and Ubin-Khatib for the Chinese Egret and Nordmann’s Greenshank. They also satisfy Criterion A3 – Biome as part of the Sundaic Lowland Forest bioregion.

If a tiny urban island nation like Singapore can have three IBAs, it makes sense to do our best not to lose them. If we allow any part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserves to be impacted with a loss of diversity and the endangered bird species, it will not qualify for IBA status anymore. Running the Cross Island Line through the southern part of the CCNR may lead to such loss and ultimately an IBA.

Reference: http://www.birdlife.org.