13 June 2012

The Semakau Book is launched!

The second edition of the Habitats In Harmony was launched last week! And it's a gorgeous publication with stunning photos and lots of interesting information!
This edition includes lots of new photos and more information as well as 133 additions to the biodiversity checklist. Congratulations to Marcus Ng and Alica Tan and the Ink on Paper team for this great book!


The book begins with chapters on the history of the Semakau Landfill including aspects such as Pulau Sakeng which was buried in the creation of the landfill. With interesting historical photos of life before the landfill.
There's also information on the history of rubbish, how things have improved tremendously over the years.
The most exciting additions to this edition are the marvellous dive shots taken by Jimmy and his dive team. The awesome red sea star is one of the 133 new additions to the Pulau Semakau checklist.
In fact, the dive team added many new sightings for the book, and provided glorious photos too! Here's a bit about the dive team.
As with the first edition, Khew Sin Khoon and the team from Butterfly Circle once again made field trips to check up on the butterflies found on Pulau Semakau and the Landfill. And there sure are a lot of them!
As well as all kinds of interesting insects, spiders and other small critters.
There are plenty of birds on Pulau Semakau and on the regenerating habitats on the landfill. Subaraj and his team helped sort out these and other vertebrates on the island over several field trips too.
There are all kinds of vertebrates here, including frogs and snakes! Of course, the usual shore documentation team were also out in force to support during the field trips, resulting in many interesting finds.
My most memorable vertebrate sighting was of the Smooth otter! Subaraj first spotted one which led me to sight it on the next trip to Pulau Semakau! It was a delight to watch this wild beast hunt and play on the mangrove mudflats. The book also gave me impetus to finally make a hard search for the fabled hot spring that was supposed to be on Pulau Semakau. And I think I saw signs of it!
The work of TeamSeagrass is also featured in the book, as well as lots of photos and stories about the magnificent seagrass meadows on Pulau Semakau which stretches for kilometers and is home to all kinds of plants and animals.
In this second edition, there are more than 1,300 species recorded for Pulau Semakau! I always believe that the more we look, the more we find!
At the same time that the book was launched, there was news that the big lagoon in the landfill will be partitioned and used for depositing the ash from our incinerators. The landfill is fast filling up! Although it is expected to meet Singapore's needs until 2024, if we want to avoid expanding the landfill further after that, which would destroy the seagrasses and other marine life on Pulau Semakau, we need to intensify efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle!

The second edition of Habitats In Harmony is sold at $24.90 at the National Environment Agency's customer service centre on level two of the Environment Building in Scotts Road. I believe you can also buy a copy at the Semakau Landfill if you happen to go there for a tour.

More about the field trips made for the Semakau book and about the first edition.

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