21 July 2011

Singapore Biodiversity Encyclopedia is launched

The much anticipated Encyclopedia has been launched! Finally, a great reference for everyone interested in learning and doing more for Singapore's biodiversity.
What does this book reveal about our biodiversity?

What makes the Encyclopedia special is the series of essays that give a great introduction to important issues. These include an overview of Singapore's biodiversity, about taxonomy, physical geography of Singapore, descriptions of major ecosystems (terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, marine, urban), threats to Singapore's biodiversity, efforts to measure and monitor biodiversity, climate change and biodiversity in Singapore, about biodiversity research (historical and modern), public policy and strategy, NGOs and the nature community, culture and tradition, recreation and the natural environment, biodiversity education (formal and non-formal), nature photography, commercial biodiversity, legal protection for nature in Singapore and sustainable development.
The rest of the book is devoted to information on organisms in Singapore. The entries in this section are probably not intended to be read in sequence, although I found it interesting to do so. Readers would probably refer to specific entries as and when they need to. Organisms are listed by common names. But good cross referencing and a massive index should help us easily find what we need. Each entry gives brief mention of key and interesting facts.
According to media articles: The encyclopedia project was started by Prof Peter Ng, director of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, and Prof Leo Tan, director of special projects at the NUS Faculty of Science. It involved 65 contributors from academia, government agencies and environmental activist groups. From insects to flora and fauna, virtually every known living organism in Singapore is featured in the book. The 552-page encyclopedia took three years to complete, and charts almost 200 years of natural history study in the country. The encyclopedia was funded by $1.1 million of donations from firms such as Exxon Mobil Asia-Pacific and the Lee Foundation, as well as private entrepreneurs Sam Goi and Oei Hong Leong. The encyclopedia will serve as a resource material for scientists, policy makers and educationists.

The book retails at $69.50 and N. Sivasothi has kindly listed some other options for getting it at a lower price.

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