Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam raises awareness about the importance of the mangrove forests in Singapore to members of the public via his Facebook page.
Mr Tharman noted that there are only eleven mangrove forest left in Singapore. Eight of which are located on the mainland, and another three on Semakau, Tekong and Ubin.
He said that the Government is holding the Festival of Biodiversity which was organised by National Parks and the growing group of volunteers and associations. They study and promote awareness of Singapore’s biodiversity and are helping to conserve and restore it wherever possible.
Mr Tharman pointed out that mangrove forests have an important role which is to soak up a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The trees would pack away the carbon in their rich soils, which go as deep as three metres. This ability is the reason why mangroves have gained recognition internationally.
Mangrove forests store more carbon than most other ecosystems globally, according to researchers at the geography department of the National University of Singapore. It was said that just one hectare of mangroves is capable of neutralizing 17 metric tonnes of carbon per year.
They also transform into forests on water during high tide, and are home to many living species – such as crabs, numerous marine organisms and the rarely seen small-clawed otters, besides 35 mangrove plant species.
Other than the said advantages, what was said to be the most important, is that mangroves also protect the coasts from tsunamis, storms, and floods. They shield inland areas during storms and minimize damage.
One such mangrove forest that would have been in existence today is Sungei Buloh Nature reserve. Under the persuasion of the Nature Society of Singapore, the government set aside Sungei Buloh as a mangrove and bird sanctuary and the mangrove is now legally protected and known as Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve.