Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat is a 15.4 hectare patch of mangrove swamp located along the northwestern coast of Singapore (Fig. 1). Once part of an extensive mangrove that stretched as far as Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Buloh 5km to the west, Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat, together with the other mangrove forests in the network has been reduced to an isolated patch.
Urban encroachment activities exemplify threats faced by South East Asian mangroves
The major change in land use is the result of an extensive urban encroachment that started with deforestation activity for shrimp development. Post independence, the mangroves that fringe the coastline of northwestern Singapore has been subjected to progressive reclamation for industry and freshwater reservoirs.
In a more recent context, Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat has been designated a “reserve site” in URA’s Master Plan 2008. Having no legal protection status to guard it from further reclamation, the mangrove can possibly face the prospect of land conversion to industry or housing in future.
Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat is also at risk from other serious physical, biological and anthropogenic threats, such as pests, erosion and sea level rise. These are threats faced by all mangroves in the region: we can harness the decades of valuable research conducted at Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat to inform management and conservation of mangroves throughout the region.
A research hot spot for decades
Despite its small area, it is a research hot spot for researchers from diverse background. Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat is one of the most heavily studied mangroves in Southeast Asia.
Over the last 50 years, extensive research in the fields of zoology, botany and ecology have been conducted here. The resulting wealth of research work conducted provides a strong baseline of mangrove research in the Southeast Asia region for which to inform their conservation.
Call for communication
Despite heavy research activities conducted, a lot remains unpublished or communicated to wider audiences. There is a huge untapped scientific knowledge base from Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat, that can be collated and communicated to the public and coastal management decision makers, and used to highlight the important cultural, biological and economic value of this unique mangrove.
This workshop hopes to take the first step in this direction.