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History of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

About Bukit Timah Nature Reserve's history

The Reserve was established in 1883 as the Bukit Timah Forest Reserve. It was one of the first forest reserves in Singapore, established under the recommendation of Nathaniel Cantley, the then-Superintendent of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Out of the reserves that were established, Bukit Timah Forest Reserve was the only one that was not worked for timber. By 1937, most of these reserves had been depleted due to economic development. Thankfully, the flora and fauna in Bukit Timah Forest Reserve were protected under the management of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The Reserve retains one of the few areas of primary rainforest in Singapore, including hill dipterocarp forests that are not found anywhere else on the island. It has been a botanical collection ground for over a century, and the first known specimens of many Malayan plant species have been obtained here.

Important periods in the Reserve's history

  • 1883: The Reserve was established as the Bukit Timah Forest Reserve.
  • 1951: The reserves in Singapore were further protected through the enactment of a Nature Reserves Ordinance and the establishment of a Nature Reserves Board to manage the reserves.
  • 1990: Both the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment areas were declared as Nature Reserves.
  • 18 October 2011: The Reserve was officially declared an ASEAN Heritage Park. Together with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, it is now part of a prestigious regional network of protected areas.
  • September 2014 to October 2016: Restoration works were carried out in the Reserve. It was reopened in October 2016.