The Bodhi tree at Jin Long Si Temple is over 100 years old. It has a girth of approximately 8.5m and its height is about 30m. An evergreen tree, it has strong roots deeply embedded into the slope of the hill where the Temple is located. The tree roots also extend to the inner recesses of the Temple grounds.
The Nature Society and National Parks Board have verified the age and immense value of the Bodhi Tree and have recommended it to be preserved as a Heritage Tree. The Temple and the Bodhi Tree are like Siamese twins because the tree roots are deeply intertwined with the Temple grounds which are on top of a hill.
According to Heritage Tree expert Wong Yew Kuan, the roots of the Bodhi tree and JLS have become so intertwined that saving one means that you have to save the other and "any land development at the tree's location has a high likelihood of causing soil movement and undue strees to the tree roots."
Part of the reason why the Bodhi tree has grown to be so big and healthy is because of the care the devotees at JLS have showered it. Such care includes adding fertilisers to help the tree grow, and trimming of its leaves and branches. If URA decides to preserve the tree but removes the temple, we cannot guarantee such care could be provided for, especially if there is major soil movement due to the removal of the temple.
There are 4 Ficus Religiosa (scientific name for the Bodhi Tree) in Singapore that are registered under Singapore's Heritage Tree Registry. This means that they are considered natural heritages of Singapore. These trees are:
Location Grith Height
JLS Bodhi Tree 8.5m 30m (currently not on the heritage tree list)
Please refer to National Parks Board's website on Heritage Tree Scheme for more information. Clearly, the Bodhi tree at JLS is far bigger and taller than all four.