#SGStem Talk & Trivia: Dr Shawn Lum

I participated in the #SGStem Talk & Trivia with Dr Shawn Lum because the title of the external activity sounded interesting and I had free time to spare so I decided to listen in! But to be completely honest, some of the things he shared kind of went over my head and I got a little confused but I will share what I managed to understand and learn in this reflection!

1) Different species are interconnected; if one species is affected, this may affect the whole forest’s ecosystem.

2) There has been a loss in both seed dispersers and seed predators which is a worrisome phenomenon. With the recent return of the wild boar in the 90s, their aggressive nature as a seed predator can potentially further disrupt the balance in the ecosystem.

3) When it comes to forest restoration, it is start from fulfilling the bare minimum before worrying about adding other species. However, determining this baseline is difficult and may potentially affect restoration efforts. Despite all this, we are slowly having a clearer idea and better understanding of what the basic functioning ecosystem is after stripping down everything else other than this baseline. So as long we have these essential elements of the baseline, we can slowly add on elements to add resistance to our forest restoration efforts. For the most bare minimum, Dr Shawn Lum believes that we have sufficient expertise to be able to determine where it lies.

4) Adding more species to the ecosystem, such as large seed dispersers is mainly good for species preservation but it doesn’t do much for forest propagation.

5) An example of basic seed dispersers needed could be civets and meerkats.

6) We can get reassurance that our biodiversity is not on a slow downslope to extinction because we have our central catchment, and we have much more forest compared to 200 years ago, showing that our forest restoration efforts are indeed effective! Hopefully, this area that we have accumulated may hold the line on extinction and accommodate even more species.

All in all, it was a very educational talk and I felt that a lot of the information he shared was very eye-opening since I have never heard of them before. I’m very grateful for this opportunity given to me because I don’t think I would have been able to acquire this knowledge if I wasn’t given a chance to listen in on this talk. Thank you!!

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