Kranji Woodland was formerly a barren land back in 2008 based on satellite images

Feb 21, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Satellite images dating between 2008 and 2018 revealed how the forest came to be at Kranji Woodland.

On a Facebook post published early this morning (Feb 21), CSI-extraordinaire SMRT Feedback explained how Kranji Woodland was a barren land back in 2008 before an invasive species of trees populated the area.

Land was barren up till mid-2010 before the rapid growth of the Albizia trees

Cutting through Kranji Woodland - formerly a scrubland - is the former KTM railway tracks operated by Malaysia.

Railway service ceased in 2011 before Singapore took over and earmarked it for future redevelopment into an Agri-Food Innovation Park.

Based on satellite images, a would-be forest begin to form only in late-2012 to mid-2013. According to SMRT Feedback, the forest is populated by a species of trees known as the Albizia (Falcataria moluccana).

The Albizia, one of the fastest growing species of trees in the world, can reach more than 40m - about 11 storeys. It was first introduced to Singapore in the 1870s.

It regenerates freely from seed which are held in dry, light-weight seedpods that get carried on the wind over short distances, usually not far from the parent plant. Its ability to easily disperse its seed and its fast growth rate can lead to the formation of dense stands in a relatively short time.

In fact, the barren land at Kranji Woodland completely regenerated into a forest within 7 to 8 years.

An 'accidental forest' is still an important habitat for wildlife

Kranji Woodland is part of a 24km green corridor stretching from Tanjong Pagar in the south to Woodlands in the north of Singapore. The area in Kranji itself is about 70 hectares - about the size of almost 100 football fields.

About 18 hectares had been set aside for the first phase of development for the Agri-Food Innovation Park.

A survey from the green corridor found 47 resident and migratory bird species that account for 12 per cent of Singapore's total records.

Some endangered and rare species that have been sighted in the area include the crested serpent eagle, Malayan box turtle, and even the pangolin.

Satellite images showed Kranji Woodland destroyed as early as March last year

Satellite images show that the Kranji woodland was destroyed as early as Mar. 1 last year.

Work halted between March and August 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The area cleared remained the same throughout those months and more logging was only made starting from September 2020.

By Jan. 25, 2021, green patches of at least 8 hectares - or 11 football fields - were cleared.

The JTC Corporation - who is responsible for the development of the Agri-Food Innovation Park - said on Tuesday (Feb 16) the affected area had been "erroneously cleared" by a contractor, Huationg, before an environmental impact assessment could be carried out.

The JTC Corporation spokesman said it takes a very serious view of the incident.

"The land 15 to 20 metres to the left and right of the rail corridor has been safeguarded to protect biodiversity within the belt of the existing forest," said JTC.

The National Parks Board (NParks) said it was investigating the unauthorised clearance.

It is illegal to fell a tree with a girth exceeding 1m growing on any vacant land, whether within or outside a tree conservation area, except with the approval of NParks, according to the Parks and Trees Act.

PSP's Tan Cheng Bock voted out as Sec-Gen after alleged party infighting

Apr 01, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel Francis Yuen has been appointed secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), taking over from party founder Tan Cheng Bock.

Dr Tan, 80, has become party chairman. This was announced by the PSP on Thursday (April 1), after its central executive committee (CEC) met on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, PSP Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai said Mr Yuen was the committee's unanimous choice to "lead PSP to the next level".

"Francis will lead and galvanise the party while (Dr Tan) concentrates on strengthening external support for PSP," he wrote.

Chairman role is basically a glorified flower pot

In many organisations around the world, the Secretary-General position has the authority to make all the decisions of running the organisation - or party. The Chairman generally does not have any more power pe se than any other voting member of the Executive Committee, except the power to run board meetings.

Comparatively, the Secretary-General is like the Chief Executive Officer of the company.

For example, the People's Action Party chairman is Gan Kim Yong while the Secretary-General is Lee Hsien Loong.

Party infighting?

The change comes amid reports of a rift in the party. An online news site, the RedWire Times, said in March that some party cadres have demanded for Dr Tan to step down as secretary-general, and allow for "more talented rising stars" to take over.

Commenting on the Redwire Times report, PSP member Kumaran Pillai said the new CEC line-up is in no way a reflection of any disagreement over the leadership of the party. Rather, Mr Yuen assuming the secretary-general role is part of a planned transition, he added.

“When Dr Tan started the party, he said he will mentor someone younger, and he hasn’t deviated from his original mission. People shouldn’t be reading too much into it.”

Mr Pillai added that he had a long dialogue with the party cadre who was quoted anonymously by Redwire Times as saying that some cadres are mustering support to demand for Dr Tan to step down from his post.

“His intention is not to stage a coup within the party. I think people have misinterpreted it and misunderstood what he said, sometimes it's like playing broken telephone, you say one thing and by the time you get to the last person, the whole story gets distorted along the way... there’s no infighting, there's no malice,” he said.

In other words, the flower pot needs watering.