wrote a paper about the Bruguiera species in Singapore (pdf) with lots of details and gorgeous photos. I have learnt so much from him about mangroves. I blame Dr Yong entirely for my getting bitten by the mangrove bug.
Also with us, Yang Shufen from NParks National Biodiversity Centre and Chua Jit Chern who is a magician at raising mangrove seedlings. Both of them are leading on the effort to protect our last best mangroves at Pulau Tekong.
And of course, the NParks Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve team who made the trip possible, includes Mohamad Azlin Bin Sani and Ang Hui Ping.
All kinds of cool things get done to keep track of and manage our special trees. Hui Ping takes GPS readings, and so does Shufen. Jit Chern has his very long cutter to try to take a sample of the tree with fruits and flowers. Alas, the tree is much too tall! Dr Yong estimates it is about 15m tall and says it is now the tallest and thus oldest Bruguiera hainesii in Singapore! Awesome!
Bruguiera hainesii is globally Critically Endangered and considered the rarest mangrove tree in the world. It has a very limited distribution (see map below from the IUCN).
Besides in Singapore, it is also found in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, with an estimated 200 individuals left in the wild.
The IUCN further shares that several propagation studies have been carried out to restore population numbers, but unfortunately it is a slow and frequently unsuccessful process. Further research is needed to fully understand the status of the various populations of this species, and its rate of decline.
In IUCN's feature on Bruguiera hainesii, Jit Chern's photo of the flower was used. Bravo!
More about this rare tree in a recent study of mangroves of the world.
Dr Yong later shares on facebook that this Bruguiera hainesii is "indeed significant towards conserving mangrove biodiversity in Singapore and for the world as well as B. hainesii is a IUCN Red listed species. Measuring over 15 metres, this tree is also the largest (thankfully, very healthy and well-formed specimen) and oldest for Singapore. It occurs in the back mangrove area (Watson class 4 and 5) and this mangrove belt consists mainly of Lumnitzera racemosa, Bruguiera cylindrica and Avicennia sp. trees."
Dr Yong also shared these ecological notes about Bruguiera hainesii that he wrote for the Sungei Buloh 10th Anniversary Book
|click on photo for a larger view|
And this awesome photo of a Bruguiera hainesii taken in 1920 - it's huge!!!
On the way back, Dr Yong explains how it is important to maintain the water quality and water flow as Brugueira hainesii is sensitive to this. The water that floods the tree comes through the waterway under the bridge at Kranji Nature Trail.
Sungei Buloh masterplan. Unfortunately, they weren't geared up to go into the mud, but we caught up with them at the Reserve and Dr Yong explains how important the Bruguiera hainesii is in raising the conservation value of this patch of mangroves. It seems the plan won't much affect the area where the tree is. Wonderful!
I wonder what other marvels lurk in our mangroves? I am absolutely motivated to find out now!