ERA-NET: Restoring and Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of Temporary Pond Landscapes

Project Details

Description

Temporary pond ecosystems represent a neglected freshwater habitat in Europe and in much of the rest of the world.
These habitats have been destroyed due to presumed associations with mosquito borne diseases and to optimize
agricultural activities while the services they provide are not acknowledged. Effective conservation and restoration of this
habitat and its unique fauna is hampered by the absence of an established temporary pond typology to guide management
and a lack of knowledge on the effectiveness of different management, pond creation and restoration strategies on
biodiversity and ecosystem services.
In this transnational project we aim to synthesize current information on temporary pond biodiversity and conservation
projects to derive more effective restoration and management strategies and simulate to what extent the current Natura
2000 network adequately protects temporary ponds using systematic conservation planning algorithms. We will also
perform experiments to quantify ecosystem services and test if we may revitalize European pond landscapes and promote
ecosystem services using ancient ecosystem engineers.
Since the Devonian era, large branchiopod crustaceans (Crustacea, Branchiopoda) are keystone organisms in natural
temporary ponds but they have been largely extirpated from much of their former ranges. Like the beaver and wolf these
invertebrates have the potential to modify habitat conditions to make it more suitable for other species. They may help to
control cyanobacterial blooms and mosquito populations, provide a valuable food source for many threatened amphibian
and water bird species and facilitate removal of nutrients from the system. However, these hypotheses remain to be
formally demonstrated and integrated tests in different locations will be needed before we may generalize these processes
and work towards better management and a broader protection of this habitat type in Europe and adjoining regions.
This project is unique in the sense that it investigates the effects of rewilding ecosystems bottom up via organisms that
may be less known and visible but equally important than classical ecosystem engineers such as the wolf or the beaver. In
addition, we will develop and disseminate good practice guidelines to reduce temporary pond degradation and to increase
the success of current restoration and creation projects. Together with our stakeholders, we will set-up a knowledge
platform and use an array of outreach initiatives to raise public awareness for this unknown and underappreciated habitat
in Europe and beyond.
Short title or EU acronymRESPOND
AcronymFWOAL1059
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/04/2231/03/25

Flemish discipline codes

  • Conservation and biodiversity
  • Ecology not elsewhere classified
  • Landscape ecology

Keywords

  • Restoration
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Temporary Ponds
  • Ecosystem engineers
  • Pond creation
  • Natura 2000
  • Life projects