Important Areas for Ponds (IAPs)

What are IAPs?


The Important Areas for Ponds (IAP) concept was proposed and developed by Freshwater Habitats Trust to raise awareness of geographic regions that support ponds of national or international biodiversity importance. The project was successfully piloted in Wales (Nicolet et al. 2007) prior to ponds being added to the UK list of BAP Priority Habitats in 2007, and IAPs have now been completed for South-east England and Northern Ireland.

Conceptually, IAPs are similar to initiatives developed by other organisations:

  • Birdlife International’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
  • Plantlife International’s Important Plant Areas (IPAs) and Important Stonewort Areas (ISAs).

The aim of IAPs is to identify networks of the most important ponds and their biodiversity. These areas can then be used to help focus strategies for pond monitoring, protection and appropriate management and creation.

Important Areas for Ponds in Northern Ireland
Our most recent IAP report has identified Important Areas for Ponds and other small waterbodies in Northern Ireland.Download the NI IAP Report here.
Important Areas for Ponds in South-east England
This is the first IAP report since ponds were classed as a Priority Habitat under the 2007 UKBAP review.Download the South-east IAP Report here.
Important Areas for Ponds in Wales
Before ponds were recognised as a Priority Habitat we also carried out a preliminary IAP survey in Wales.To read the Preliminary Wales IAP Report download the pdf here.

Identifying IAPs will:

  • Highlight IAPs for practitioners (including conservation agencies, local authorities, Defra and non-governmental organisations), creating a better understanding and recognition of the Priority Pond resource.
  • Increase awareness of the importance of special and often overlooked pond types (e.g. temporary ponds), and the species they protect.
  • Help in the development and delivery of the Pond Habitat Action Plan (HAP) for example, informing site identification for pond creation initiatives like the Million Ponds Project and assisting in the choice of Flagship Pond sites.
  • Help to protect pond networks and prevent fragmentation of freshwater resources.
  • Inform the planning system of areas where ponds should be given particular protection.