Pond restoration to conserve biodiversity in agricultural areas

Lecture Theatre B33, Birkbeck, University of London,
Torrington Square,
United Kingdom

Managing still waters

Speaker: Dr Carl Sayer, Geological Department, UCL.

Friday 7th March, 18.30 - 20.00

Lecture theatre B33, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London

Dr Carl Sayer is a Senior Lecturer in freshwater ecology within the Environmental Change Research Centre (ECRC), University College London (UCL). His expertise lies in the field of aquatic conservation and he is especially interested in ponds, lakes and rivers in lowland landscapes. Carl is a co-founder of the River Glaven Conservation Group in Norfolk and is a regular advisor to the The Wildlife Trusts, Broads Authority, National Trust, Natural England and The Rivers Trust on aquatic conservation and restoration issues. Carl is passionate about communicating research findings to local wildlife groups, land-owners and the general public, to help enact positive change in the aquatic environment.

Nature has undergone an unprecedented decline in our UK agricultural landscapes since World War II. Along with the loss of hedges, and wild-flower meadows, ponds have also been severely affected. Since the 1950s-60s many ponds have been lost to agricultural land reclamation, while at least 90% of the ponds that survive today are heavily overgrown by trees and bushes. Recent research in East Anglia, shows the huge value of pond management (removal of trees, bushes and mud) for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes. Aquatic plants, invertebrates, amphibians, fishes, birds and mammals all seem to benefit hugely from this approach. Equally, initial results show that, even in-filled and ploughed over "Ghost Ponds", can be brought back to life. It is suggested that pond management and restoration is essential to conservation in agricultural landscapes and that agri-environment schemes should take on more of this.

This event is free and open to all, registration is not required.

Management of wildlife habitat

Free lecture Series, Birkbeck, Ecology and Conservation Studies Society, supported by the Linnean Society of London

In a crowded island how do we make space for a diverse wildlife? Until recently, the management of wildlife habitat was by mimicking traditional economic management, in an attempt to preserve rich remnants of the past and deter alien invaders. Dissenting voices, however, argue that we can create large blocks of wilderness, where natural processes allow native species to manage themselves with minimal intervention by us. Another view is that tradition is too focussed on birds, bees and wild flowers, ignoring most other biodiversity. Yet others find value in mixtures of both native and established exotic species and argue that it's difficult and unnecessary to strive purely for natives. This series asks whether our traditional management prescriptions needs an update?