In 1819, Singapore was mostly covered in rainforests. During that time, it still contained flora shared with the Malay Peninsula, but even then, the biodiversity of fauna was relatively low. Following the establishment of the British trading post, rapid deforestation began due to crop cultivation, and was largely completed by the 20th century. By some estimates, there has been a loss of 95% of the natural habitats of Singapore over the course of the past 183 years. Due to the deforestation, over twenty species of freshwater fish, 100 species of bird, and a number of mammals became locally extinct. A 2003 estimate puts the amount of extinct species as over 28%.
In modern times, over half of the naturally occurring fauna and flora in Singapore is present only in nature reserves, which comprise only 0.25% of Singapore's land area. Estimates made in 2003 have said that the rapid habitat destruction will culminate in a loss of 13-42% of populations in all of Southeast Asia.
To combat these problems, the Singaporean government has made the Singapore Green Plan in 1992 and the new Singapore Green Plan in 2012 to continue it. The plan aims to keep tabs on the unstable populations of fauna and flora, to place new nature parks, and to connect existing parks. In addition, there were plans to set up a "National Biodiversity Reference Centre" (now known as the National Biodiversity Centre). The last goal was reached in 2006 when the centre was founded (it also accomplished the establishment of two new nature reserves in 2002). Since its foundation it has been formulating various specific initiatives including attempts to conserve the hornbill and the rare dragonflyIndothemis limbata.
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