top-rated free essay

The Loss of Biodiversity and Heritage in Singapore

By Pearly-Foo ﺕ Oct 12, 2013 1436 Words
Matric Number:

The loss of biodiversity and heritage is inevitable when Singapore aims to expand its land by nearly 10% through reclamation and freeing up of reserve land by 2030. Although much biodiversity and heritage have been lost throughout the course of development, I believe that it is worth spending money or effort to protect our biodiversity and natural heritage in view of the forthcoming developments. This is due to Singapore having a substantial biodiversity and a large array of native species still existing on this small island, which substantiates the need to protect them.

One reason we should protect our biodiversity and natural heritage is due to genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. Within a species, individual organisms possess a variation of alleles, which are suited for different environmental conditions. Therefore, with more diverse genetic characteristics, a species will have a higher chance of continuity in view of changing environments. According to a study done in 2007, “genetic diversity and species diversity depend on each other” (Lankau, 2007). This implies if there is a lack of genetic diversity within a species, species diversity will not be maintained and vice versa. This removal of either one of those factors will result in the breakdown of the ecosystem (Lankau, 2007). However, Singapore has lost up to 73% of its plants and animals since 1803 due to development (Pickrell, 2003), which has caused the variation of alleles in the gene pool to diminish drastically. Ultimately, the future of the human civilization will be in peril if we do not restore the balance between the human enterprise and the natural world (Tan et al, 2010) as we are reliant on each other. Therefore it is worth it for Singapore to protect its biodiversity in view of the future developments.

Healthcare is of high importance to Singaporeans as exemplified in the allocation of $5.7 billion to healthcare in the Singapore Budget 2013, which is about 10% of the total budget (Singapore Budget, 2013). Therefore, the medicinal properties of plants are of importance when discussing about the need to conserve biodiversity in Singapore. In the Healing Garden in the Singapore Botanical Gardens, there are 500 species of plants with medicinal properties (NParks, 2011). Examples of plants in the Healing Garden would be the White Mulberry (Morus alba) and Aloe vera. The fruit of the white mulberry can be used to treat diabetes, cough, wheezing, headache and constipation. Aloe vera can be made into a gel with antibiotic, astringent and coagulating agents, and thus is a powerful natural healing agent. Moreover, the roots of the Aloe vera have diuretic and diaphoretic functions too (NParks, 2011). Furthermore, it is estimated that more than 80000 species of plants have not been discovered around the world (Osborn, 2011). In Singapore, about 500 new species of plants and animals are discovered in the last decade, which includes more than 100 species that are new to science (NParks, 2011). With every new species discovered, there are chances that it possesses medicinal properties that can treat some known diseases. As such, it is worth spending money and effort in conserving the biodiversity of Singapore in order to discover the medicinal properties of these plants before they go extinct.

Global warming is an increasingly worrying problem as it has an adverse impact on the world’s ecosystem, such as extinction of species (National Geographic, 2007). The biodiversity in our ecosystem can help us mitigate the negative effects of global warming by acting as a carbon sink. A carbon sink is a reservoir that can accumulate and store carbon-containing compounds such as carbon dioxide for an indefinite period of time. Natural carbon sinks includes forests and mangroves, with mangroves being a better sink as it can sequester up to five times as much carbon dioxide as tropical forests (Chua, 2011). However, Singapore’s land area covered by mangrove has decreased by more than 95% from 1950 to 2002 and forests have decreased from 3.35% to 2.86% from 2002 to 2010 (Trading Economics, 2012). The depletion of mangroves and forests causes greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere, causing more heat from the sun to be trapped in Earth, leading to global warming (Sharma, 2008). To prevent drastic changes in the global climate, countries like Singapore have acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in 2006 (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2012) and welcomed the extension of the Kyoto Protocol (Channel News Asia, 2012). As one of the most efficient ways to cut carbon emission is to conserve and resurrect the mangroves and forests in Singapore, therefore, there it is worth it to protect the biodiversity of Singapore, especially the mangroves that may be reclaimed, in order to mitigate the adverse effects of global warming,

Lastly, Ecotourism is one economic sector that biodiversity has impact on. Ecotourism is defined by the as responsible travel to natural areas the conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people (The International Ecotourism Society, n.d.). Ecotourism in Singapore includes the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore Zoological Gardens, Gardens by the Bay and many others. For instance, the Singapore Zoological Gardens attract over 1.6 million visitors a year (Wildlife Reserve Singapore, n.d.). With these places as tourist attractions in Singapore, it clearly shows that ecotourism ties conservation and economic growth together. Therefore, in order for ecotourism to develop into a stable source of revenue for Singapore, we have to protect our biodiversity during development to prevent it from being destroyed.

However, some may argue that as bulk of the land expansion is done in order to increase housing and industrial land to accommodate the increase in population. The increase in population is important to Singapore, as our main resource is human capital rather than natural resources (Singapore National Commission for UNESCO, 2008) thus reducing the need for conserving biodiversity to attain economic growth.

In conclusion, despite the lack of reliance on natural resources, it is still important to conserve our biodiversity as its importance have been exemplified in the aforementioned points. Moreover, the native species in the biodiversity also contributes to our identity as a ‘Garden City’. Therefore, it is worth it for us to invest money and effort to protect our biodiversity.

(987 words)

1. Lankau. R. (2007). Study: Loss Of Genetic Diversity Threatens Species Diversity. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

2. Pickrell, J. (2003). Singapore Extinctions Spell Doom For Asia?. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

3. Tan et al (2010). The Natural Heritage of Singapore 3rd Edition p. 7

4. National Parks Board. (2011). Healing Garden Annex A. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

5. Osborn, L. (2011). Undiscovered Species – How Many Are There Left To Find?. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

6. National Parks Board. (2011). Found: 500 Species Of Plants And Animals New To Singapore. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

7. Singapore Budget. (2013). p. 8 Fiscal Outlook For Financial Year 2013 Retrieved March 23,2013, from

8. Singapore Budget. (2013). Retrieved March 23, 2013, from

9. National Geographic. (2007). Effects of Global Warming, Signs are Everywhere. Retrieved March 23, 2013, from 10. Chua, G. (2011). Conserve Mangrove As Carbon Sinks. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

11. Trading Economics. (n.d.). Forest Area (% Of Land Area) In Singapore. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

12. Sharma, P. D. (2008). Global Warming, Greenhouse Gases And Their Harmful Effects. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

13. National Climate Change Secretariat. (2012). Action On Climate Change. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

14. Channel News Asia. (2012). Singapore Welcomes Move To Extend Kyoto Protocol. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

15. The International Ecotourism Society. (n.d.). What Is Ecotourism?. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

16. Wildlife Reserve Singapore. (n.d.). Park Experience. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

17. Singapore National Commission for UNESCO pt. 5 (2008 May 28) Opening address by Prof S Jayakumar, Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinating

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Loss of Biodiversity

    ...Issue Outline Loss of Biodiversity Introduction I. By the show of hands, how many of you know what a biodiversity is? II. For those of you who do not know, a biodiversity is a variety of the humans and species that live on Earth. III. This is meaningful to you because I hope to speak for most of us when I say that I want my children and m...

    Read More
  • Biodiversity in Singapore

    ...With the proposed population increase to 6.9 million citizens, the tension between preserving our natural heritage and developing our land for practical uses increases substantially. In an effort to examine whether our natural heritage is still worth preserving in the face of competing land uses, this essay analyzes the benefits that our biodive...

    Read More
  • The Loss of Biodiversity

    ...The Loss of Biodiversity Brenda Peace POL310 Environmental Policies Instructor: Arthur Piervencenti February 10, 2013 It seems that in today’s time, the discussion of biodiversity and what it means is being discussed frequently. There are those who feel that biodiversity is something that will possibly take care of itself. Then there ar...

    Read More
  • Loss of Biodiversity

    ...Meaning The definition of biodiversity encompasses the degree of variations in organisms and/ or species within an ecosystem. The loss of biodeversity would be the diminishing of dfferent species within that ecosystem. For example, a lake may be the home to many types of fish. A change in the lake's temperature or chemistry may affect a food ...

    Read More
  • Loss of Biodiversity

    ...The value of Biodiversity Biodiversity has a fundamental value to humans because we are so dependent on it for our cultural, economic, and environmental well-being. Some argue that it is our moral responsibility to preserve the Earth's incredible diversity for the next generation. Others simply like knowing that nature's great diversity exist...

    Read More
  • Food Production And The Loss Of Biodiversity

    ...found in distinctive ecosystems across the globe. At the very least, diversity is accountable for the thorough development of all natural systems and warrants their existence. The inclination of biodiversity in our daily lives is what enables us to continue to prosper and feasibly grow and develop in our environment, with each life form and eco...

    Read More
  • Natural Heritage of Singapore country of 714.3 square kilometres and having a population density of 7,257 per square kilometer (Singapore Department of Statistics, 2012), every hectare of land in Singapore is extremely important to us. Over the years, widespread urbanisation has led to about 90.2% of our land area being developed (Tan, 2006), exhausting much o...

    Read More
  • Human impact on biodiversity and ecosystem loss

    ... Human impact on biodiversity and ecosysytem loss Magdaléna Jilečková The English College in Prague Abstract Biodiversity and ecosystem are crucial issues that have an impact to the human well-being now and in the future. Biodiversity depends o...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.