Mangrove park at Pulau Ubin to be completed by 2026; 8,000 mangrove plants to ‘naturally take root’

Partnered with NParks, OCBC’s mangrove park project is Singapore’s first large-scale project to adopt the Ecological Mangrove Restoration method.

Fitri Mahad

Probably the only person that likes to hear the koels go ‘uwu’.

Published: 31 October 2022, 6:10 PM

Pulau Ubin will see an additional 8,000 mangrove plants by 2026 and an additional 1,000 mangrove saplings to be planted along its coastline over the next six years.

This is part of OCBC’s Mangrove Park project announced by OCBC and NParks in a press release on Saturday (Oct 29).

The project’s launch was marked with the planting of three mangrove trees at the Sungei Durian ponds by Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee. Alongside him were representatives from OCBC Bank, NParks, Garden City Fund and the Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) initiative.

According to OCBC and NParks, this is Singapore’s first large-scale project to adopt the Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) method. 

EMR is defined as an approach to coastal wetland rehabilitation or restoration that seeks to “facilitate natural regeneration in order to produce self-sustaining wetland ecosystems”.

The project is aimed towards enhancing the long-term resilience of mangrove habitats and increasing Singapore’s capacity for carbon storage to fight climate change by reducing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The park, which will be situated at Sungei Durian, will see two native species of mangrove trees: Katong Laut and Dungun.

The Katong Laut is found in mangrove forests and can grow up to 25m tall. It sports pendulous leaves that are pinkish to beige coloured. It is the food plant for caterpillars of the Carea costipalaga moth, and its flowers are pollinated by insects. 

The Dungun is known locally in various mangrove forests and has a shaggy crown with gnarled branches. Its fruits may float on water for weeks and germinate after being stranded by high tide on suitable sites.


The Katong Laut (left) has a local conservation status of ‘Critically Endangered’ while the Dungun (right) has a local conservation status of ‘Endangered’. PHOTO CREDIT: ANG WEE FOONG, NPARKS FLORA & FAUNA WEB.


Over the next six years, 1,000 mangrove saplings will also be planted at sites such as the Sungei Puaka and Sungei Jelutong ponds.

These ponds will see native mangrove tree species such as the Api-api Bulu, Bakau Minyak, Black Mangrove, Pakau Putih, Tumu Merah and White Teruntum. 

The 9,000 mangrove trees could “potentially sequester up to 30 million kilograms of carbon dioxide in their lifetimes”, said OCBC and NParks. 

OCBC and NParks also estimate that coupled with the surrounding mudflats and soils, the amount of carbon stored in a mangrove ecosystem could be “three to four times more” than in a terrestrial ecosystem. Terrestrial ecosystems are defined as land-based ecosystems, as opposed to a mangrove ecosystem that occurs between land and sea.


The Api-api Bulu (left), Black Mangrove (middle) and Bakau Minyak (right) species can grow up to 30m tall. PHOTO CREDIT: ARTHUR NG, JENNIE TANG YURUE, JWH YONG, NPARKS FLORA, FAUNA WEB


Project works include improving accessibility to the site, and community engagement and outreach programmes will be introduced following the park’s opening in 2026.

Mr Desmond Lee expressed several benefits of the project, stating it will help restore and safeguard more of Singapore’s mangrove patches.

“These solutions are important in mitigating climate change and offer additional habitats for our native biodiversity. We thank OCBC for the continued partnership in our efforts to transform Singapore into a City in Nature,” he added.

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