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Sanctuary for rare trees at Yishun Park
Thu, Jul 10, 2008
The Straits Times

By Shobana Kesava

A NEW sanctuary for trees found only in the Indo-Malayan region has sprung up at Yishun Park by the National Parks Board.

The three-hectare living gallery of trees for education and research is called the Yishun Park Dipterocarp Arboretum.

About 70 species, or 14 per cent, of the family of large woody trees called dipterocarps - meaning two-winged fruit - will line the paths of the park.

Some examples include the Shorea, Kapur and Chengal trees, all highly prized for their timber.

Mr S.K. Ganesan, an assistant director of NParks' streetscape department, said the trees were chosen because of their iconic nature.

The oldest known Chengal in the region is in a Malaysian reserve in Terrengganu. It is 80 metres tall and about 1,300 years old. Raintrees on Singapore sidewalks are about 4 metres high.

Signages, guided walks and education programmes for students and members of the public are planned for next year, when the young trees become sturdier.

The $160,000 effort is sponsored by Banyan Tree Holdings as part of its decade-long greening communities programme.

Its senior vice president, Ms Claire Chiang, said the arboretum will be a natural museum in Singapore, to educate Singaporeans and foreign tourists alike about trees of the region.

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