"Temporary Ponds: a natural habitat to be protected!"

Intervened ponds already have better conservation status

> The interventions already started to give some positive signs

 

The interventions carried out by the Project team in the approximately 20 Temporary Ponds in the Southwest Coast of Portugal are beginning to give some positive signs and the state of conservation of these ponds is improving. Although the monitoring is in the final phase, preliminary results indicate higher floristic richness and an increase in the number of amphibian species and their abundance. Monitoring actions are based on a qualitative and quantitative assessment of various groups of living beings, in each pond, before and after the interventions on the ground.

More fascinating flora

The data is still being processed for later verification of the flora component evolution but it is already possible to confirm that in general many of the Temporary Ponds that underwent in recovery interventions present a greater plant richness, including species typical of this precious habitat, when compared to the conservation status before the intervention.

This result was already expected because part of the interventions were directed to the replacement of the topography of ponds. Now, the intervened ponds present a more adequate topography, with better distribution and structuration of vegetation belts, which allows the species to recolonize their natural habitat, thus improving their conservation status.

There are about 248 species of plants associated with these ponds and 120 of them are bio indicators, ie biological indicators of the habitats 3170* listed in the Habitat Directive. The diversity of plants in each pond complex can range from 13 to 72 species depending on their conservation status.

 

More amphibians species with more individuals

Monitoring of amphibians in the intervening ponds was completed at the end of May of this year and 10 of the 13 known species in the Southwest Coast were detected, such as iberian ribbed newt, fire salamander, southern marbled newt, iberian painted frog, european toad, natterjack toad, water frog, iberian spadefoot toad, mediterranean tree frog, lusitanian parsley frog, being the last three species the most detected .

In general, the restoration and recovery of the ponds had a positive effect on the amphibian communities, not only an increase in the number of species, but also abundance when compared to the analysis before the interventions. There was also an increase in the number of species to reproduce within these intervened ponds.

 

Bats and voles still under analysis

In the case of bats, monitoring was carried out through the placement of special recorders that record the sound frequencies that bats emit to orient themselves and a large number of records were collected thus still under analysis. Regarding the As regards the voles, especially for the two species sampled, the Cabrera’ vole and the water vole, their frequency remains relatively low.

 

Large Branchiopods Crustaceans have stable communities

Although the last year's rainfall regime was atypical which made the hydroperiod start rather late, that is in March instead of November as it is normal, the community of Large Branchiopods crustaceans are stable.

The only fact to note is that adult specimens of the species Tanymaxtix stagnalis were found in a Temporary Pond  in Vila do Bispo county where cysts of this species had already been found in the sediment but never before had adult specimens been seen. In addition to Triops vicentinus, Chirocephalus diaphanus and Branchipus cortesi, which constitute the community of the Large Branchiopods in this particular pond, it is now possible to observe Tanymaxtix stagnalis.


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