New policy directions for global pond conservation, Conservation Letters, A Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, DOI: 10.1111/conl.12447
Despite the existence of well-established international environmental and nature conservation policies (e.g., the Ramsar Convention and Convention on Biological Diversity) ponds are largely missing from national and international legislation and policy frameworks. Ponds are among the most biodiverse and ecologically important freshwater habitats, and their value lies not only in individual ponds, but more importantly, in networks of ponds (pondscapes). Ponds make an important contribution to society through the ecosystem services they provide, with effective conservation of pondscapes essential to ensuring that these services are maintained. Implementation of current pond conservation through individual site designations does not function at the landscape scale, where ponds contribute most to biodiversity. Conservation and management of pondscapes should complement current national and international nature conservation and water policy/legislation, as pondscapes can provide species protection in landscapes where large-scale traditional conservation areas cannot be established (e.g., urban or agricultural landscapes). We propose practical steps for the effective incorporation or enhancement of ponds within five policy areas: through open water sustainable urban drainage systems in urban planning, increased incentives in agri-environment schemes, curriculum inclusion in education, emphasis on ecological scale in mitigation measures following anthropogenic developments, and the inclusion of pondscapes in conservation policy.