The “Pro-Pond” project

 The “Pro-Pond” project (2007-2010)

“Promoting pond conservation in Europe and the Mediterranean region”

Seven actions :

  • Production of a “Pond Manifesto”
  • Setting up of a preliminary typologie of Ponds of Europe
  • Importants Areas for Ponds: IAPs
  • A workshop on “Pond management success stories”
  • A workshop on ” Linking pond management to scientific knowledge”
  • An advanced Training Course on Pond Conservation and Management for stakeholders
  • The production of Newsletters (2 x / year)

The Pro-Pond project was supported by the MAVA foundation.

The Pond Manifesto

The Pond Manifesto is the first deliverable produced by the Pro-Pond project

This Manifesto, produced by the EPCN, presents the case for conserving
European ponds and provides an outline strategy for much needed conservation action in Europe and North Africa.

A first draft from this manifesto had been produced at the first EPCN workshop in 2004. It has later been appended and improved by all EPCN participants. The development has been published in 2007 in Annales de Limnonogie-Int. J. Lim. The final version presented here is directed to all stakeholders and publics. It will be widely disseminated.



A preliminary typology of Ponds of Western Europe

We propose here a preliminary typology of ponds from Northwestern to Southwestern Europe.

A typology of European ponds is still needed to develop bioassessment techniques along broad environmental gradients. We analysed the distinctness of the pond biota across a latitudinal gradient ranging from Northwestern to Southwestern Europe. Biological traits were used to compare communities over broad geographic ranges, because they are independent of taxonomy, and reflect adaptations to environmental characteristics.

Data on the occurrence of 204 pond invertebrates in 96 ponds were collected from the literature, and traits were described for each taxa. Ponds were divided into three subsets according to their biogeographic origin (Mediterranean, Atlantic and Alpine, and Continental), and to a gradient of hydroperiod.

  • Invertebrates in the Mediterranean Region allocated much energy to reproduction and resistance forms. These characteristics, and others such as small body size, suggest that populations are selected by unstable habitats. Most species had narrow thermal ranges, making Mediterranean invertebrates more susceptible to climate change.
  • In Continental areas, invertebrates allocated fewer energy to reproduction and dispersal, whereas resource use was favoured by short-lived organisms, and a high diversity of feeding groups. These characteristics suggest higher resilience capabilities. Those populations are selected by more stable and structured habitats, allowing spatial and temporal segregations of species.
  • The main difference between ponds in the Alpine and Atlantic regions was their elevation. Alpine conditions necessitate specific adaptations related to hydroperiod length, rapid temperature fluctuations, and low nutrient concentrations.

Although we could gather information on about 100 ponds, we are still unable to obtain information on a much larger set of ponds that would be evenly distributed across Europe. These data certainly exist, but their heterogeneity and low accessibility remain problematic. There is still, therefore, a pressing need for the incorporation of high quality data sets into a standardized database so that they can be further analyzed in an integrated European-wide manner.

Further Info: – in English – in Italian – in Spanish – in French


Importants Areas for Ponds: IAPs

This project aims to identify the most important areas for pond biodiversity (i) in the Alps and (ii) in the Mediterranean region.

The EPCN is currently identifying Important Areas for Ponds (IAPs) in the Alpine Arc and the Mediterranean region, including North Africa and East Mediterranean.
The information gathered from this work will be used to encourage better protection measures for ponds at the regional, national and international level, and their inclusion in biodiversity and water protection strategies (e.g. Water Framework Directive River Basin Management Plans).

What is an Important Area for Ponds (IAP)?
“An IAP is a geographical area which supports a pond site or network of high biological, social or economic importance”

How is an IAP identified?
IAPs can either be:
(i) proposed by pond workers (site managers, researchers, or other stakeholders),
(ii) identified using GIS techniques and existing plant and animal biological records.

In order to qualify as an IAP, a pond site needs to fulfil one of five criteria based on:

A. the presence of important EU habitats,
B. the presence of species of high conservation value (e.g. listed on the Habitats Directive, IUCN Red List, or endemic to the region),
C. high pond density (pond networks),
D. cultural, historical, economic or scientific interest,
E. exceptional importance for other reasons (e.g. high species diversity).

Two posters were presented in Menorca in May 2009 (download the pdf file) and in Berlin (download the pdf file) in June 2010. They synthesised the development of the methodology for selecting the IAPs.

A first list of 140 pIAP

With the help of EPCN members, researchers, site managers and other stakeholders, our preliminary investigation has identified a list of 140 proposed potential IAPs (pIAPs):
– 30 in the Alpine Arc (Fig.1),
– 110 in the Mediterranean region (28 in North Africa and East Mediterranean, and 82 in Europe; Fig. 2).

Proposed potential IAPs (pIAPs) will be reviewed through a public consultation process and either accepted as a full IAP, modified or declined.

For more information, see the full IAP report, and the site profiles [pdf 23’780 Ko]

or a summary: – in German– in French– in Italian– in Spanish



Workshop ” Linking pond management to scientific knowledge”

This workshop took place at the 3rd EPCN conference in Spain (Valencia, 15th May 2008)

The aim of the workshop was to investigate solutions in way to create a better link between scientists and practitioners to improve the evidence base for pond conservation and management. (see the introductive presentation)

Much knowledge on pond management is held by practitioners working “on the ground” and this is not often published or available for others to learn from. On the other hand, there is relatively little scientific research on pond management, or monitoring to assess the result of management activities.

Scientists and practitioners would both benefit from sharing best practice experiences and knowledge. In this workshop, it was discussed in way to identify the key issues to develop pond management practices based on a sound scientific basis.

One of the main questions discussed during this workshop was:

“How is it possible to improve the flow of information between management and research?”


A short syntheses of the results of this workshop is available here: [pdf 159 Ko]



Workshop “Pond management success stories “

This workshop took place at the 3rd EPCN conference in Spain (Valencia, 15th May 2008)

The aim of the workshop was to present and discuss various pond management success stories from different places in Europe (presentation through managers).

Beside the presentations of the success stories, the discussions focussed on two questions:

  • How do we measure “success”?
  • Why only success stories?

Two examples of presented “success stories” (download [pdf 1167 Ko] ):

    • Maceration ponds in the province of Ferrara (Italia)
    • Bomb crater ponds in Hasselt (Belgium) (see pdf document; 2 Mo )

A short syntheses of the results of this workshop is available here [pdf 44 Ko].



Advanced training course

The advanced training course on pond conservation and management for stakeholders has been hold in Trieste (Italia), the 14-16 June 2010.

In the last few years new information about the assessment, management and creation of ponds has lead to rapid developments in the conservation of ponds in Europe. For practitioners and researchers, this training course provided up-to-date information on all aspects of pond conservation and management. In addition to training workshops led by international experts, participants contributed to the discussions based on their own experiences. A pan-European training programme has been provided which can be used by participants in their own countries.

The course covered the following topics.

  • ecological assessment methods
  • pond management
  • pond creation
  • public involvement and networking
  • historical and archaeological value of ponds

The training course has be given in English. Each module included an overview of the issues, guidance on best practice and case studies. The course also included a site visit to the karst ponds around Trieste to look at the implementation of pond conservation and management measures on a landscape scale.

The course has been given jointly by international experts from different organisations (including Nicola Bressi, Trieste Museum of Natural History; Andrew Hull, Liverpool John Moores University; Naomi Ewald and Jeremy Biggs, Pond Conservation; Hauke Drews, Stiftung Naturschutz Schleswig-Holstein). Detailed course notes has been provided in a single volume.

The course was free and open to everyone.



The Pond Conservation newsletter includes information on both European and Mediterranean basin developments (e.g. the results of regional or national surveys, major policy changes etc.) and news about specific sites or wildlife (e.g. pond management successes and disasters, invasive species impacts, etc.).

The newsletters is disseminated by email. The information gathered for the newsletter come from EPCN members and existing wetland-related networks.

We welcome new information from everywhere and everybody!

Download here the Nr 1 [pdf 1042 Ko] , the Nr 2 [pdf 1017 ko] , the Nr 3 [pdf 1250 ko], the Nr4 [pdf 1860 ko] the Nr 5 [pdf 2280 ko]