EU H2020 – PONDERFUL: POND Ecosystems for Resilient FUture Landscapes in a changing climate


AMPHI is part of a consortium that is running a new Horizon 2020 project ‘PONDERFUL’, led by the University of Vic (Spain). The project’s overarching aim is to develop improved methods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes in climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and the delivery of ecosystem services.

Because of their small size, the significance of ponds has long been underestimated. They are, for example, largely excluded from the Water Framework Directive in Europe, even though the Directive is actually intended to protect ‘all waters’. In North America, their inclusion in the protections provided by the Clean Water Act are contested, and in other areas they lie largely outside regulatory systems. However, research over the last 10-15 years has shown that, because of their abundance, heterogeneity, exceptional biodiversity, inherent naturalness and biogeochemical potency, ponds play a role in catchments, landscapes, and potentially at continental scale which is completely out of proportion to their small size.

The main aims of the research in PONDERFUL will be to increase understanding of the ways in which ponds, as a Nature-Based Solution (NBS), can help society to mitigate and adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services. The project started in December 2020, and will run for the next 4 years.

The project has five main components:

  1. Developing a strategic approach to engagement with stakeholders, to ensure that they are able to effectively implement the benefits of ponds as Nature-Based Solutions
  2. Through the generation of extensive new biodiversity and ecosystem services datasets, to better establish the relationship between pond biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services
  3. Establish models that enable us to test and optimise practical scenarios for the use of ponds and Nature-Based Solutions
  4. Create a set of demonstration sites across Europe which show to practitioners and policy makers how ponds can help to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change
  5. Ensure that the project’s outputs are widely known to policy makes, practitioners and other stakeholder.

The project brings together experienced researchers from nine European states and from Turkey and Uruguay. AMPHI is very pleased to be one of the 18 project partners who are working together to deliver this important and innovative project.

Lystrup centervej – One of the implemented NBS in Aarhus Municipality

The full project team comprises: the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia; IGB Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Haute Ecole Specialisée de Suisse Occidentale; Universitat de Girona; Ecologic Institute, Berlin; University College London; Middle East Technical University; CIIMAR – Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental; Aarhus Universitet; Uppsala Universitet; Bangor University; Technische Universitaet Muenchen; Institut Superieur d’agriculture Rhone Alpes I.S.A.R.A; Freshwater Habitats Trust; Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay; Randbee Consultants and AMPHI.

The European Commission has awarded a Horizon 2020 grant of €6.9 million to PONDERFUL project.

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NEWS

PONDERFUL Launch Event took place online last June 2021.

The event is opened by Dr. Tobias Salathé a Senior Advisor for Europe at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

Leading international landscape ecologist and conservation scientist Prof. Lenore Fahrig explains why small waters matter, and how they have been overlooked in international environmental policy up until now. Her inspirational work is relevant to all organisations involved in aquatic biodiversity conservation, urban planning and land management, but is especially important for those involved in water and wetland management.

World leading specialists in the ecology of ponds from the PONDERFUL project, including Prof. Sandra Brucet, Prof. Luc De Meester and Prof. Beat Oertli  introduce the work of this Horizon 2020 project which is providing critical information on these overlooked but ubiquitous freshwater habitats. The meeting is chaired by Dr Jeremy Biggs who was the first president of the European Pond Conservation Network and is CEO of the Freshwater Habitats Trust in the UK.