SINGAPORE - An additional 14 hectares of forest area have been designated as a Nature Area in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced in a statement on Saturday.
The 14 hectares comprise a 10-hectare fragment of secondary forest adjacent to the Botanic Gardens in the Tyersall area, which is known as the Learning Forest, as well as surrounding forest areas.
A green space is designated as a Nature Area if it is one with ecological significance, and there are currently 24 such Nature Areas in Singapore, including Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve and the Pulau Ubin Nature Area.
Including the existing 6 hectare Rain Forest, this brings the entire Nature Area within the Botanic Gardens to 20 hectares.
NParks said that the additional 14 hectares will enhance the forst habitat in the Gardens as it forms a contiguous swathe of forest through the heart of the Gardens.
"It will help in the regeneration of the Rain Forest, strengthen ex situ conservation of plants native to the region and create additional habitats for native wildlife."
Many of the species found in the new Nature Area are also native and part of Singapore's natural heritage, and are an important reference for ongoing research work.
The new Nature Area is situated within the Buffer Zone that was demarcated in the Site Management Plan submitted by the Gardens to UNESCO for its nomination as a World Heritage Site.
The expansion of the Nature Area is also part of the Gardens' Biodiversity Conservation Plan, which outlines measures to conserve and enhance the Rain Forest and its surroundings.