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Current Research Project: Mapping Vegetation of Mandai Mangroves

On 24th September 2011, MAS was lucky to be part of Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III (2011) and Mangrove Surveyor a.k.a Rick was given the golden opportunity to conduct a poster presentation of his ongoing Honours project titled ‘Investigation of Elevation-Vegetation Processes in Mandai Mangroves’. Ria Tan has his project all figured out, check this out!

Q: So what is  his project about?

A: He is mapping the soil elevation of the  Mandai mangrove (i.e. slope of soil surface of the mangrove) and vegetation i.e. trees of the mangrove.

Q: where is  this Mandai  mangrove?

A:Well, it’s located near  Woodlands Checkpoint. However, public may not access the mangrove freely as it is a restricted site only bound for researchers with permit!

Q: So how does he map the mangrove’s elevation and vegetation?

A: He uses a surveying equipment called the total station (similiar to that of a camera) on a tripod which shoots lasers towards the prism head of a surveying pole held vertically to the ground.Each survey point that is measures the location and elevation of the point!

Total Station used for surveying

Overall setup for the total station

Q: Ahh…sounds ‘cheem’! (difficult in Singlish) So does every survey point measure the elevation of the soil? How about tree mapping?

A: Nah, not at all. The principle behind the surveying equipment is quite easy. He shall explain to you in more detail when you choose to join him for his surveys

Q: How about mapping trees? How does he do it?

A:Mapping trees consist of :-

(1)Measuring diameters of trees

Ria Tan of Wild Singapore fame helping Rick with his surveys.

3)Getting coordinates of trees

Wei 'Win-Win' Kit holds the pole with prism where it is grounded to the approximate location of the a measured tree

Dr. Balaji using the total station to capture the location of tree

Q: So how many trees will Rick map?

A:  At least 3000 trees and he has to identify each of them. Thankfully Dr. Jean Yong’s Comparative Guide to the SIngapore Mangroves helps him alot!

Q:So why should I volunteer to help in this project?

A: Many reasons actually but Rick gives three main reasons!

(1) Fun in the mud! If it is your first time stepping into a mangrove, it’s quite surreal!

Muddy fun time at Mandai Besar River!

2) Amazing fauna to look out for in Mandai

Some fauna found in Mandai mangrove

3) View of  Johor from way up here (Nope, you don’t to climb trees, just kidding) The view from Mandai is breath-taking; you have to be there to see it for yourself

Rick climbing a Rhizophora tree!

View of Johor Bahru and Johor Straits from Mandai Mangrove

Kindly email Rick at if you’re interested to know more about this project and help him with his project.