This article was originally published on The Straits Times


“An ambitious project to quantify all the benefits provided by Singapore’s natural environment was launched on Thursday (Aug 16), aiming to provide a framework for developers to assess the trade-offs between development and conservation.

The project will determine the economic, social and environmental benefits of the country’s forests, parks, waterways, and marine habitats. The effort to study the nation’s “natural capital” will take three years.

“In spite of the national effort towards greening the city-state, we still need to know more about how to incorporate nature into holistic planning at a national scale,” said a spokesman for the Singapore-ETH Centre, one of the project’s leaders.

For example, trees can lower urban temperatures through providing shade and transpiration – when water evaporates from leaves, stems and flowers. While the effect of trees on temperature can be measured easily, other advantages they bring may not be as well-known.

Trees also help to slow storm-water runoff and help soil to absorb more rainwater, which reduces the strain on Singapore’s drainage network. Furthermore, forests provide outdoor recreational possibilities that positively impact physical and mental health.

The National University of Singapore is the other project leader, and the two organisations will bring together architects, biologist, ecologists, economists, geographers, and software engineers.

The team will create a framework to define Singapore’s most important ecosystems, determine their benefits and agree on tools to measure them…”

Read on at: The Straits Times.