Regulate water levels

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of regulating water levels on reptile populations. This study was in France.



  • Abundance (1 study): One controlled, before-and-after study in France found that autumn–spring marsh flooding with moderate levels of grazing in autumn–winter led to higher numbers of European pond turtles than winter–spring flooding with high levels of grazing in spring–summer.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A controlled, before-and-after study in 1997–2013 in two marshes with canals in Camargue, France (Ficheux et al. 2014) found that autumn–spring flooding along with autumn–winter grazing increased European pond turtle Emys orbicularis abundance. European pond turtle abundance was greater with autumn–spring marsh flooding and moderate-stocking density autumn–winter grazing (192–436 individuals), compared to winter–spring marsh flooding and high-stocking density spring–summer grazing (107–182 individuals) or year-round flooding and low-stocking density grazing (182–227 individuals). In a nearby site with moderate year-round flooding and grazing, European pond turtle abundance was stable over the same time period (29–153 individuals, data taken from graphs). Turtles were live-trapped in April–August 1997–2013 (7,059 total captures of 963 individuals) in two sites (100–250 ha, 1.5 km apart). In 1997–2001, both sites were flooded and grazed year-round at low-moderate stocking density. In one site, in 2002–2006, water levels were modified to create a dry period in summer–autumn, with natural flooding in winter–spring and grazing was changed to high density stocking in spring–summer (see original paper for details). In the same site, in 2007–2013, the flooding period was extended so that autumn–spring were flooded and only summer was dry, and moderate density grazing took place in autumn–winter.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Sainsbury K.A., Morgan W.H., Watson M., Rotem G., Bouskila A., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Reptile Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for reptiles. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Reptile Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation

Reptile Conservation - Published 2021

Reptile synopsis

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