SINGAPORE - It has sheltered lovers, borne the weight of enthusiastic climbers and formed the backdrop of many a photo shoot.
But decades of visitors trampling on its roots and perching on its horizontal branch have proven too much for the iconic Tembusu tree in the Botanic Gardens.
The National Parks Board and the National Heritage Board said yesterday that, later this year, they will be installing a fence around the tree, which is older than the 154-year-old Gardens and features prominently on the $5 currency note.
The high number of visitors treading around and climbing on the tree has caused soil compaction, which has impeded root growth and has proved "detrimental" to the tree's health, said the government agencies.
Another Tembusu tree in the Gardens' Palm Valley, which is suffering from a similar fate, will also be fenced up.
The conservation of these heritage trees is among several measures laid out in a site-management plan for the Botanic Gardens for its nomination as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The plan also includes a new foliage garden with more than 300 species of plants, a heritage museum detailing the Gardens' history and a green gallery with botanical exhibits.
The public is invited to give feedback on the nomination documents and plan at www.sbg.org.sg/unesco.
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