Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Reclaimed land

Photo credit: Wang Luan Keng


In land-sparse Singapore, reclaimed land takes up a significant proportion of the entire land area (19.1% in 2011) with the area of Singapore increasing from an estimated 578.1 km2 at the time of founding to 714.3 km2 in 2011 (Singapore Department of Statistics, 2011). Land area will increase every year due to continual reclamation which occurs both on the main island and on offshore islands. Land is reclaimed from the sea by depositing subsoil from inland areas or marine sand dredged from seabeds in Singapore waters or purchased from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia or Indonesia.

After land is being reclaimed, it is left undisturbed for several years to allow for the landfill to settle before development of the land begins. This is when an open country habitat would usually take over. The sediment used in the reclamation would have brought in seeds, fruits and other propagation material, leading to the growth of a plant community. Other dispersal agents such as animals and wind would also contribute to the growth. As the plants begin to grow, providing food and shelter, animals will also begin to make use of the habitat. Some animals that colonise such reclaimed habitats include birds, frogs and toads, land hermit crabs and lizards.

This habitat is temporary and is often being developed after the land is left fallow for many years.


Reclaimed land

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