Lifecycle of a pond

Whether made by people or nature, a new pond will be quickly become home to a range of wildlife.

Often the first arrivals will be plants and animals that need the special conditions in new ponds, like bare sediment, no competitors and usually no big predators like fish.

As the pond matures, over decades or centuries, the early arrivals are usually replaced by different species that come later. And as the pond matures, the variety of plants and animals usually increases as well. This process is called succession and is entirely natural. All ponds go through succession. Some plants and animals only like certain pond stages. If you are looking after a pond, it is important to remember that all pond stages are valuable for one species or another, so think carefully before doing any work on a pond.

Cotswold water_JAN08_3_II

The picture shows ponds near the Cotswold Water Wildlife park. The unusual landscape was made from exploratory digging of shallow gravel. Although it looks a bit rough, it actually makes a great pond complex, with deep and shallow ponds, including ponds that will sometimes dry out. This makes a really varied wildlife habitat for different plants and animals that like different conditions. Its also a great place for land-based bugs, beetles and insects. Read about our ambitious Million Ponds Project to see how we will be making new ponds for wildlife, across the UK.