Temporary ponds

A pond doesn’t have to have water in the whole year round; some ponds dry out some of the time and this can actually be good for wildlife.

After hundreds to thousands of years, ponds ultimately turn into, not dry land as you might expect, but temporary or seasonal ponds. These ponds are an important and highly threatened habitat type, many of which persist for millions of years.

It is really important that these ponds are kept as they are, and not made into more permanent ponds, because they have a range of specialised and rare plants and animals. Temporary ponds can be very rich in plant and animal life, particularly for amphibians and invertebrates such as water beetles. One in four seasonal ponds in places such as woodland, old meadows and heathland, have a rare Red Data Book species.

Temporary ponds are important for wildlife because the occasional drought gets rid of fish (which are a major predator of insects and amphibians) allowing other species to thrive.

What does a temporary pond look like?
This series of pictures is taken of the same pond at Pixey Mead, a Site of Special Scientific Interest just north of Port Meadow in Oxford.

The pictures are taken through the year to show how the water level changes naturally.

As you can see, the same pond can vary a lot between years!

Related Links

Joint Nature Conservancy Council website
Red Data Book information