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The Importance of Rural Pond Habitats

Rural ponds are one of the most important and under rated rural habitats. While ponds can often appear modest in appearance, they are in fact a haven for freshwater habitat, with two thirds of all freshwater species living in ponds. They are capable of supporting a larger population of invertebrate than rivers! Invertebrates are not thought of as exciting wildlife, but they are the basis of food chains, meaning they are able to support a diverse and healthy ecosystem. Ponds are also crucial habitats for reptiles, supporting a variety of frogs and newts.


Despite providing such vital habitats, over 50% of UK ponds were lost in the 20th century. This is due to a number of reasons including: trampling by animals, becoming overgrown or infilling with silt and sediment. In particular the loss of smaller farm ponds becoming overgrown has impacted ecosystem health. The ponds that remain are subject to pollution from agricultural and urban runoff, leading to eutrophication.


Norfolk Rivers Ecology’s own Jonathan Lewis-Phillips studied his PhD on the importance of farmland pond management for birds. His findings showed that managed rural farm ponds are an important feeding and breeding ground for many species of bird, in particular red-listed declining species such as Yellowhammer and Linnet. In contrast, where farm ponds had been allowed to become heavily overgrown, a very limited number of bird species were present.


Here at Norfolk Rivers Ecology we are highly experienced in different pond restoration techniques. Through restoring ponds we are able to reinstate these vital habitats. To learn more about Norfolk Rivers Ecology pond restoration services, click here.






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