Building bridges to the island city-state

CEED and the National University of Singapore

Bishan Park, a great example of innovative urban planning in Singapore. (Photo by National Parks Board, Singapore).

Bishan Park, a great example of innovative urban planning in Singapore. (Photo by National Parks Board, Singapore).

Singapore is an important regional centre for biodiversity and conservation science. In recent years CEED has established many collaborations with researchers at the country’s national university – the National University of Singapore (NUS). These growing links are proving mutually beneficial to both countries as well as advancing environmental decision science in several areas. Here are some examples.

Located one degree north of the Equator, Singapore (the world’s only island city-state) seeks to become a ‘City in a Garden’. More than 50 years of greening has given rise to a cityscape incorporating a network of nature reserves and nature parks nestled within a matrix of verdant streetscapes, urban parks and park connectors. The challenge of developing and sustaining such an ecosystem in a land-scarce city is enormous and requires scientific inputs from a wide range of disciplines. CEED is working with NUS on multiple projects relating to urban and park biodiversity.

Chong Kwek Yan has been visiting CEED’s UQ node from October 2015 to 2017. He received the NUS Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship, and is working on the optimal planning of urban greenspaces with CEED CIs Kerrie Wilson, Richard Fuller, Jonathan Rhodes and Hugh Possingham.

In May 2016, Roman Carrasco from NUS visited with his two graduate students, William Symes and Zhang Yuchen. Roman is collaborating on a new project with CEED on expanding conservation objectives to incorporate development objectives with James Watson, Oscar Venter and Hugh Possingham.

At Roman’s invitation, Richard Fuller and his new graduate student, Micha Jackson, visited Singapore in August 2016 to give a talk at the NUS Department of Biological Sciences’ Biology Colloquium on conservation issues surrounding migratory birds. Micha remained at NUS for several days afterwards and has ongoing plans to collaborate with Roman and his lab on aspects of her PhD research relating to coastal land-use change.

Kerrie Wilson was also invited to give talks on systematic conservation planning and structured decision-making at the NUS Biology Colloquium and at the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology’s (CUGE) Professional Speakers Series in September 2016. CUGE is part of the National Parks Board, the agency that handles matters related to biodiversity and greenery in Singapore.

CEED Director Kerrie Wilson lectures on conservation decision-making in social-ecological systems at NUS’ Biology Colloquium. (Photo by Chong Kwek Yan)

CEED Director Kerrie Wilson lectures on conservation decision-making in social-ecological systems at NUS’ Biology Colloquium. (Photo by Chong Kwek Yan).

Nao Takashina also spent some time with Ryan Chisholm’s lab in NUS from September to November last year. Nao is a Post-doctoral Fellow visiting CEED from the University of the Ryukyus (Japan).

Yong Ding Li, a PhD student with David Lindenmayer at CEED’s ANU node, coordinated the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative-East Asian-Australasian Flyway Workshop in Singapore in January 2017. The event was attended by a contingent of three graduate students from CEED: Stephanie Avery-Gomm, Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao and Micha Jackson. Ding Li is a NUS alumni, having completed his Honours under the supervision of the late Navjot Sodhi, a giant in Southeast-Asian conservation.

NUS is ranked consistently among the top universities in the world. Its interactions with CEED will help deepen its research capacity and impact, as well as develop enduring collaborations with Australia. It’s a relationship benefitting both countries, and can only grow in the years ahead.


More info: Chong Kwek Yan kwek@nus.edu.sg

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