Sparrow and Finch Gardening  How can they help you fight climate change

 How can they help you fight climate change

Ponds are often taken for granted. We may think that ponds are only for goldfish because we’ve seen them and, on occasion, fallen in them. Children’s ” Minibeast ” hunts are a favorite, but adults should grow out of ponds.

Ponds are a natural habitat for many species of fish, according to James Clegg.

It is a field that is particularly suitable for amateurs, who can make valuable contributions to science by conducting pond-hunting systematically and carefully.

All too often, ponds get left out of conservation plans that focus on rivers and lakes. It is a grave omission, as ponds are the most widespread habitat on all continents and islands of Earth, from Antarctica to tropical regions. They could be perched on top of Alpine glaciers, waiting for deserts to rain and replenish the ponds. Or they might be deep in the equatorial forests or the sprawling cities. These creatures could be on Mars.

In the UK, the Freshwater Habitats Trust has led the way in pond research, while internationally, the European Pond Conservation Network is leading the charge. These organizations bring together researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders to conserve pond biodiversity. They have found that ponds are biodiversity hotspots, with a disproportionately high number of species compared to rivers and streams, and they contain many rare specialists such as fairies and shrimp tadpoles.

Tadpole Shrimps ( Triops Cancriformis ) are among the oldest animals on Earth. They live in ponds. Repina Valeriya/Shutterstock

Ponds are beneficial to humans because they slow down run-off, which can lead to flooding. They also remove excess nutrients. This is a good example of ” smaller water bodies“, which enriches and enhance a landscape. Ponds could also play a role in the atmospheric carbon cycle by storing it and releasing it it. This is due to the intense geochemical processes that occur and the sheer amount of ponds on the planet. It is not known how quickly ponds can bury the carbon.

Carbon sinks in your backyard

It is difficult to measure the rate of carbon storage in ponds because many ponds are unknown. We took advantage of an opportunity to calculate carbon burial rates using small lowland pools that were known by the day. The ponds at Hauxley Nature Reserve, in north-east England, were excavated in 1994. The original intention was to track colonization by plants and invertebrates.

They had developed a dark sediment layer rich in organic debris. This was distinctly different from the clay beneath. To measure the amount of organic carbon accumulated, we used sediment cores to dig out the entire sediment in some ponds. The carbon content of the bodies were scaled up with the sediment dug from other ponds in order to represent the total volume.

Ponds can be used as carbon sinks in landscapes that are intensively managed. Mike Jeffries is the author.

The burial rates of organic carbon in ponds ranged between 79 and 247g per sq m per year with a median of 142g. These rates are much higher than those of woodland and grassland, which have rates between 2-5g. The UK’s small ponds cover a tiny proportion of its land area, barely 0.0006%. This compares to grassland which covers 36% and ancient woodland at 2.3%. The rate of carbon burial found by us would mean that ponds would bury half as much carbon as vastly larger grassland.

The role of ponds in the carbon cycle can be complicated. Some ponds can be major sources of greenhouse gasses, like permafrost-thaw ponds found in the Arctic. These ponds release more carbon dioxide as the tundras in which they are located warm. As they dry up or re-flood, our Hauxley Ponds can go from being a sink of carbon to becoming a source as the ponds re-flood. Our ponds, however, have accumulated a lot of carbon in their 20-year lifespan and are home to many animals and plants.

Researchers collect carbon cores in ponds of Hauxley Nature Reserve. Mike Jeffries is the author.

No artificially enhanced productivity was used to maximize carbon capture. These are shallow lowland ponds in the midst of intensively farmed landscapes that characterize much of temperate climates. There are many ponds, small wetlands, and other wetlands scattered throughout the landscape. They were mainly scraped for wildlife conservation.

These ponds can be easily created in your own backyard. The ponds can be temporary and small – the important thing is to have clean water. Their value is also well understood. Ponds are no longer ignored, and their importance in combating climate change and the carbon cycle is now well understood.

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