Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Mangroves in Singapore to visit
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
1 deg 42' 53.5" N, 103 deg 43'30.8"E

This 87-hectare park was officially opened on the 6th of December 1993. It includes Pulau Buloh and is situated in North-west of Singapore, between Kranji Reservoir and Sarimbun Reservoir.
Sungei Buloh Nature Park is reached by Neo Tiew Crescent, off Neo Tiew Road and Kranji Road (take the Mass Rapid Transit System to Kranji MRT Station then take Trans-island Bus Services (TIBS) bus service no. 925 to Kranji Dam Carpark and walk (15 mins) to the park on weekdays; the bus will take you directly to the park on Sundays and Public Holidays).
Map of the park

Park website
view of the main bridge into Sungei Buloh Nature Park
Bridge over Sungei Buloh
Besar from which you
can see Johor, Malaysia
The park consists of a Visitor Centre, numerous trails and hides for observing resident and migratory birds, a mangrove walkway area, ponds and a car park. The river, Sungei Buloh, separates the reserve proper from the Visitor Centre. Sungei Buloh is Malay for 'bamboo river'.
A small entrance fee is required of visitors at the entrance through the Visitor Centre which also houses an exhibit of the biology of the Park, a small souvenir shop and canteen. The park is closed by 7 pm.
visitors on a boardwalk at Sungei Buloh Nature Park
You can view the forest denizens
from the boardwalk
It is administered directly by the National Parks Board as of 1 April 1998. It is well- frequented, and receives about 80,000 visitors annually, of which 4,000 are tourists.

The park is a wetland area with three main parts: the reserve proper, the Visitor Centre and Pulau Buloh, an island in the north. Both Pulau Buloh and the Visitor Centre area consist mainly of mangrove, and the reserve proper also contains man-made brackish and freshwater ponds.

According to the Straits Settlement Government Gazette Reports of the Botanic Gardens, 1890, the Sungei Buloh area was a forest reserve from 17th April, 1890 and did "Consists entirely of mangrove swamp". However, this "area of 1,128 acres, 3 roods (sic) and 18 poles, more or less" (approximately 457 hectares) ceased to be a forest reserve on 4th April, 1938, according to the Straits Settlement Government Gazette, 1938. Maps of this area on the other hand, have indicated that the area was a forest reserve until 8th April, 1938, and a map dated November, 1966, still indicated the area around Sungei Buloh as a forest reserve.

When it was first designated a forest reserve in 1890, the area appeared to be entirely mangrove. Records as to when prawn and fish ponds were constructed are not available. Along with the development of farms, the mangroves were cleared. Native species were replaced by cultivated species for consumption by the farmers or their livestock. With the farms and ponds abandoned in 1989 when the Government took over the site, early successional and weedy species invaded the area.

A recent survey found a total of 248 native and naturalised vascular plant species (15 ferns, 1 gymnosperm, 233 angiosperms). The current flora includes mangrove and beach or coastal forest species but the majority are early successionals, native and exotic weeds and escapes from cultivation. The original flora was very different and consisted mainly of lowland, or beach or coastal forest, and mangrove species. The great difference in species and high number of weedy species in the current flora reflects major man-made changes in the environment.
students crowding around a guide
Students cluster excitedly around a guide
pointing out the tiny crabs that live
under algal mats on the forest floor.

The park conducts special education programmes for the public
with the help of volunteer guides.

No native bamboos have been collected at this site despite the name of the river. At the gate of the park, Bambusa vulgaris, an exotic species has been planted. it may well be that bamboo did grow along the river banks but that nobody, including past collectors, collected them.

The mangroves of the site are quite typical for the rest of Singapore and show most of the textbook features. The most prominent trees are Avicennia alba, A. officinalis and A. rumphiana, Bruguiera cylindrica, B. gymnorhiza and Rhizophora apiculata, R. mucronata and Sonneratia alba. In the undergrowth are numerous shrubs of Acanthus ebracteatus and A. volubilis which also clamber up and over other plants (for a full list).

Twining through the trees are plants of the climber Finlaysonia obovata, and Derris trifoliata. The rarer species such as Cassine virburnifolia considered endangered locally, is found here.

Sungei Buloh is also a good place to see Archer fish hunting during high tides, numerous monitor lizards, some of which are up to two metres long, and hordes of migratory birds during the northeast monsoon. A heronry of Purple and Grey herons on the island east of the Mangrove arboretum provides a good view of these large birds nesting or feeding chicks at different times of the year. Visiting otters from Malaysia have been seen frequently, and hopefully, a family will take up residence here one day!
grey heron at its nest

The heronry with
Grey Herons (above) &
Purple Herons (below)
can be seen from Route 2

purple heron at the heronry

For more on how to prepare for a visit to mangroves.
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre