Mangrove Forest

Mangroves are mainly found in areas experiencing the tropical climate with a mean annual temperatures of 19°C,especially along sheltered coastal regions and places where river constantly deposit clay and slit.There are 15.9 million hectares (over 60,000 square miles) of mangrove forests in the warm waters of tropical oceans all over the world. Along the Atlantic coast they are found from Florida all the way down to Argentina. Mangroves grow on both the western and eastern coasts of Africa. They stretch into India, Burma, and south-east Asia. Mangrove forests are also common in New Zealand and Australia.

How do mangrove forests able to adapt to their environment?

Structure of the forest

A mangrove forest has three distinct horizontal zones. It has no vertical layers in a Mangrove forest unlike a tropical forest. Trees in mangrove forest vary in height from two metres to forty metres as the muddy soil in the coastal environment discourage tall trees from growing as it cannot provide firm support for them.
There are three types of structures:
1.Coastal zone(nearest to the sea/river)
2. Middle zone(between the coastal zone and inland zone)
3. Inland zone(furthest away from the sea/river)
[Done by Yinxiang]

Bird-nest fern

Bird-nest fern
Bird’s-nest fern, is a large epiphytic fern, with erect, simple, wavy, bright green and long leaves which can reach lengths of 4 feet  and is grown in spoon-shaped like. They can be found growing high in the crooks of the trees or either on rocks or ground. They are beautiful and also able to withstand high light level .
[Done by Yinxiang]


Bamboos are one of the fastest growing plants in the world. They are capable of growing up to 100 cm or more per day due to a unique rhizome dependent system. However, the growth rate needs to dependent on local soil and climatic conditions. They are being used for building materials, either as a food source or as a versatile raw product.

[Done by Yinxiang]

Mangrove leaves
A mangrove forest is evergreen as there is no seasonal changes in temperatures and rainfall throughout the year. The leaves of the mangrove also help the plant regulate its salt content by being able to secrete salt. The upper surface of mangrove leaves has a thick, waxy cuticle that makes the leaves waterproof. As the tide falls away, the salty water drains away quickly from the pointed tips of the leaves. Some mangrove plants like Avicennia species, Jeruju (Acanthus species) or Kacang-kacang (Aegiceras corniculata) are salt secretors. The common salt concentration in the sap is high at about one-tenth that of sea water. Salt is partially excluded by the roots and the salt is excreted by the salt glands by the plant expending energy. The concentrated salt solution evaporates near the gland, becomes crystals which are removed by wind or rain. One can taste the salt by licking the leaves of these species to confirm this! There are also another type of plants ( e.g.  Rhizophora and Sonneratia species)  which belongs to theultrafiltrators. They would adsorb salt instead of secreting it. They stored excess salt in old leaves , which then fall off.
[Done by Jiamin& Yinxiang, pictures uploaded by Yinxiang]


Mangrove roots

Mangrove trees have unusual roots which are specially adapted to soft, waterlogged soil that are lack of oxygen. Mangrove roots not only provide support in unstable soils and to withstand currents and storms, but also breathe air. Different mangrove trees have unusual roots to help them adapt to the soft and oxygen-deprived soil. The mangrove roots and forests offer safe habitats for animals, above and below water. The roots help prevent erosion from waves and protect the shore from winds and hurricanes. Millions of people depend on mangroves for many of their daily needs, from fuel, to dye, to food.

Known as aerial roots/breathing roots.


The aerial roots are exposed to air during low tide and covered by salt water during high tide. Only air can get through the lenticels, not water or salts. The function of aerial roots are to absorb air or/and to provide structural support in the soft mud.

Known as prop roots or stilt roots.


The prop roots also improve the stability of the tree by providing a broader base and support in the soft and unstable mud. They also help in aeration as they are exposed for at least most of the day between tides.

Known as the knee-like roots


The kneed roots provide firm support in the soft soil. Example the Bruguiera trees.

[Done by Jiamin, pictures uploaded by Yinxiang]

What we observe from mangrove forest!
What we observe from mangrove forest!


  • During high tide, these Mudflat Fiddler Crab climb out of the water to escape predation. They form an important component of the ecosystem by feeding on fallen mangrove leaves that do not decompose easily. This helps in the breakdown of the mangrove leaves into nutrients for the mangrove plants.
  • The spiders in the reserve are colourful and easily spotted on their intricately patterned webs.

  • Growing up to 2 metres, the Monitor Lizard is the largest lizard found in Singapore. This creature can often be seen sun-bathing on the walking routes! Fear not, as when disturbed, it will clumsily escape into the undergrowth or water. It is an excellent swimmer, living near water where it scavenges.

  • The Mudskipper is an amazing fish of the swamp. Unlike most fishes, its protruding eyes stick out of the water and enable it to observe it’s surrounding. It has modified fins that help propel it out of water and across the mudflats. They may even eat smaller mud-skippers.
  • [Done by Jiamin, pictures uploaded by Yinxiang]

Birds we see in sungei buloh


We managed to see some birds in the mangrove forest. We spotted Waders and shorebird as they waded in the shallow water in search for food and water. We also spotted a resident bird of Singapore, the White-collared Kingfisher found flying amidst the mangrove trees.

[Done by Jiayu, pictures uploaded by Yinxiang]

Species of fruits that can be found


What is a Noni?

Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4–8 kilograms (8.8–18 lb) of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops. It can grow up to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves. Noni fruit powder is high in carbohydrates and dietary fibre.Noni has been evaluated unsuccessfully in preliminary clinical trials for possible use in treating cancer.The green fruit, leaves and the root/rhizome were traditionally used to treat menstrual cramps, bowel irregularities, used to treat diabetes,liver diseases and urinary tract infection.It is in oval shape and described by Burkill as “greyish transparent white, in appearance anything but appetizing, in flavour as of soap and sugar mixed, with a smell like decaying cheese”. The ripe fruit rots readily and the smell has been described as a “terrible stench” that resembles vomit. The fruit contains many seeds. Bark pale greyish-brown, shallowly fissured.

[Done by Jiayu&Pooiyee, picture uploaded by Yinxiang]


The Nypa fruticans or Nipah as it is commonly known, have pollen fossils found in deposits dating back to 70 million years ago! Leaflets are used to make roof thatching (ataps), house partitions, hats, umbrellas, baskets and mats. The young leaflets are dried and used as cigarette wrappers and leaf stalks are burn as fuel. Sugar, wine (toddy) and vinegar can be obtained by processing the sweet sap tapped from severed flowering stalks. Atap- chee, a sweetmeat, is made from young seeds, and served in a local desert call ice-kacang.

[Done By Pooiyee, picture uploaded by Yinxiang]

Plant species that can be found

Hibiscus tiliaceus is commonly known as Sea Hibiscus and can grow up to 13 meters tall. It have heart-shaped leaf. The bright yellow flower with maroon eye opens in the morning and fades dull pink soon after falling in the same evening. The seeds are enclosed within a star-shaped calyx cup. The tree has many uses and that includes stem cuttings as fences, wood for boat building and firewood, fibers from the bark as strings and roots, leaves and shoots are medicinal.
The Avicennia alba is the most common Avicennia species found in the reserve. All Avicennia species have the ability to excrete excess salt from their leaves through special salt glands found in the leaf surface. The term alba and the common name in Malay Api Api Puteh refers to whitish under leaf surface.

Alexandrian Laurel. A coastal tree, also produces beautiful white flowers. The trees flowerbloom twice a year from April to June and October to December, apparently after an appreciable period of dry weather. The flowers open in the early morning around 3 to 4 am and wither the following day. Some luck would be needed to see them in bloom. Take a breather if you have a chance to see them and you may agree with me that the sweet scent of the flowers is better than anyperfume.

Three-leaved Derris. A legume that is closely related to the groundnut, pea and bean plants. It has white or pinkish white flowers. The inflorescence can grow to 20cm in length and each individual flower is about 1cm in diameter.Sea Holly. A plant that has reminiscent of the Christmas Holly because of the spiny leaf margin. It has purplish white or light blue flowers and the pollinatorsof the flowers are believed to be birds and bees. As these flowers bloom for only two to three days, enjoy them while they last.Tumu.  The flowers are strikingly red, a colour that attracts birds. Hence the pollinators of these flowers are believed to be birds. The deep floral cup contains an abundant reservoir of nectar which serves as a reward for the birds that visit the flowers. Each of these flowers also possesses an interesting explosive pollen discharge mechanism. A bird pollinator attracted by the nectar and whose beak touches the base of each petal activates the mechanism. Pollen discharged onto the bird may then find their way to the stigma as the bird goes from flower to flower.

Excoecaria agallocha. Also known as Blind-your-Eyes because of the effects of the tree’s noxious white latex on exposed eyes, has male and female flowers that are borne on separate trees. The sex of the flowers is difficult to distinguish to the untrained eye. The male inflorescence is longer than the female inflorescence. Male and female trees are best identified by the production of 3-lobed fruits. Only female trees produce fruits. The fruits are less than 1cm in diameter. The flowers are believed to be pollinated by bees as the pollen is sticky.

[Done by Chew Pooi Yee]

The guide told us to

Open our ears – for instant if you can’t see them, you can hear and feel the presence of them: the drone of the cicadas in the trees, the splash of a sea bass as it spurts through the water; the noisy rustling of undergrowth as the resident monitor lizard takes off. And the bird calls—the loud chuckle of the kingfisher contrasting with the melodious song of the magpie robin and the soft cooing of doves. The chirping of the birds, the sound of the insects, the smell of the trees and branches shows us a real feel of the word “NATURAL”.

[Done by Jiamin& Yinxiang ]


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