14 January 2009

New year, new ponds…

As the earliest hints of spring appear across the UK, new life is taking root in a number of special ponds created by Froglife.

Studies of these new ponds will contribute to a Froglife project that will identify how plant and animal species react to different pond management techniques.

Over two years, the ‘Second Life for Ponds’ project (funded by SITA Trust) will investigate a number of pond management techniques and compare the effect this has on a range of wildlife species. The project will compare a selection of techniques for pond clearance: from ponds cleared mechanically with diggers, to ponds where swamp vegetation has been cleared out by fleets of hard-working volunteers.

Bearded Stonewort Chara canescens and other rare stoneworts have been chosen as indicator species for the project. Other species that will be surveyed include water beetles (and other aquatic invertebrates), water voles and Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus.

“Some species are very specific about the ponds in which they can flourish, and this can affect their distribution nationally,” said Francesca Barker, Froglife’s project officer. “In some cases species can become extinct locally if certain ponds do not remain in the landscape.”

It is hoped the project will contribute to wider research on the UK’s ponds and wetlands, being undertaken by a number of wildlife organisations.

Second Life for Ponds is being carried out at Hampton Nature Reserve in Peterborough. Froglife manages Hampton Nature Reserve on behalf of landowners O&H Hampton.

For more information and photos: www.froglife.org/projects/SecondLife.htm