and BoyBoy (a female actually) after much procrastination, in view of having recently concluded my volunteering stint with her!
which was previously a continuous patch of forest (before it was fragmented in 1986 to make way for development).
The construction of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) subjects sensitive landscape areas to edge effect:
- Abiotic – involve changes in the microclimatic stresses (e.g. increased light, elevated air and soil temperatures, increased nutrient, increased moisture stress)
- Biotic (direct) – involve changes in vegetation diversity and wildlife implication (e.g. weed abundance, roadkills)
- Biotic (indirect) – involve changes in species interactions (e.g. predation, parasitism, pollination and seed dispersal)
The BKE also effectively bisected arboreal-terrestrial forest communities, resulting in species isolation (which may promote inbreeding, reducing the fitness and hence survival of a species).
Driven by the 5 strategies listed in the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP),
"... NParks will be developing an Eco-Link across the BKE, in the form of an overhead bridge to connect the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. With a width of 50-metres at its narrowest point, this hourglass shaped bridge will be densely planted with vegetation to encourage animal crossings between the two nature reserves. Not only will the Eco-Link benefit the wildlife, people will also be able to enjoy extended hikes between the two nature reserves via trails on the new link. The first of its kind in Southeast Asia, this overhead Eco-Link affirms the Government's commitment to the long-term conservation of Singapore's biodiversity." – Mr Mah Bow Tan (Minister for National Development)
Though we all know that it would have been more effective to plan to retain linkages in a landscape than to attempt to re-establish them in a previously fragmented landscape, hopefully this $17, 000, 000 ecological corridor, upon completion, can meet its objective of ensuring the exchange of genetic material, adequate feeding areas and breeding grounds. More on the Eco-Link
Back to Amanda's project! In which, she studies the population and distribution of small mammals at various locations within BTNR and CCNR.
When deciding on a suitable field technique, the size of the animal, its niche (i.e. arboreal, aquatic, subterranean, terrestrial, volant), and its behavior (e.g. nocturnal), are necessary considerations. In her case, field survey entails live-trapping of small mammals using baited Tomahawk and Sherman traps, coupled with the Mark-and-Recapture technique for a more qualitative analysis on the small mammal populations. More on survey techniques
Anyway, below is a series of photos which chronicles (more or less) her fieldwork. All photos taken with iPhone 4, and rather hastily so... sorry for the poor quality!
She sets up 36 traps at every site. And each trap is placed 20m apart, alternating between Tomahawk and Sherman in the entire grid system. She also checks all 36 traps twice a day.
Singapore Rat (Rattus annandalei)
Besides the Singapore rat, she also caught the Malaysian Wood Rat (Rattus tiomanicus), Common Treeshrew (Tupaia glis), Hooded pitta (Pitta sordiad cucullata) and a baby monkey (long-tailed macaque I think)!
I'm thankful to have been given the opportunity to help her (and other honours students) during these two months! The experiences have been rewarding and I've definitely picked up some skills (like setting the camera traps, micro-chipping and using the total station).
- Laurance WF, Nascimento HEM, Laurance SG, Andrade A, Ewers RM, et al. 2007 Habitat Fragmentation, Variable Edge Effects, and the Landscape-Divergence Hypothesis.PLoS ONE 2(10): e1017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001017
- Good, J. A. (1998) The potential role of ecological corridors for habitat conservation in Ireland: areview. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 2, 72pp.
- Study uncovers how animals in Maryland use underground highway culverts (More photos on their FB page)
- Conservation Buffers: Design Guidelines for Buffers, Corridors, and Greenways by National Agroforestry Centre
- The role of corridors and types
- An analysis on the effectiveness of different traps