It’s important to build and strengthen the evidence base on the contribution of habitats towards tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis. This report explores the available evidence surrounding agricultural ponds, their importance for biodiversity and their potential to mitigate against and adapt to a changing climate. The risks and opportunities of each were assessed, including where management may jointly benefit biodiversity and climate change and where conflicts may arise. This research will further be used to build a robust set of recommendations for the management of new and existing ponds, with both climate change and biodiversity in mind.
The report highlights:
• Current number of agricultural ponds (latest estimates are between 400,000 – 500,000 ponds across UK, with 5% as seasonal, 25% as semi permeant and 70% as permanent ponds) across England and the UK and estimates of ponds lost over the last century (50% decline since 1900).
• The type and extent of ecosystem services provided by agricultural ponds including carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and hydrological management.
• The role that ponds play in the carbon cycle, including their capacity for long-term storage of carbon and the drivers behind this.
• Climate change risks that agricultural ponds will face. This includes an increased occurrence of long dry periods causing ponds to dry out, increased sediment flow into ponds through intense summer storms, increased maximum air temperatures, increased frequency of invasive species and general species migration.
• Current best practice guidance for restoration and general management.
• Case studies of successful pond management and restoration projects.