Study

Buried alive: aquatic plants survive in ‘ghost ponds’ under agricultural fields

  • Published source details Alderton E., Sayer C.D., Davies R., Lambert S.J. & Axmacher J.C. (2017) Buried alive: aquatic plants survive in ‘ghost ponds’ under agricultural fields. Biological Conservation, 212, 105-110.

Summary

Action: Excavate pools/ponds

A replicated study in 2013–2014 of three re-excavated ponds in farmland in Norfolk, UK (Alderton et al. 2017) reported that they were colonized by aquatic macrophytes within 40 weeks. Of the 15 macrophyte taxa with seeds or spores in the historical pond sediment, 12 appeared in at least one re-excavated pond. These species included a rush Juncus sp., stoneworts Chara spp., floating-leaf pondweed Potamogeton natans and water crowfoot Ranunculus aquatilis. Additional germination tests suggest that at least some of this vegetation grew from the buried seeds or spores (see original paper). Methods: In autumn 2013, three former ponds (buried under farmland for 45–150 years) were re-excavated to their previous size and shape. So, historical pond sediments were present at the bottom of each re-excavated pond. The ponds were left to fill naturally with water. Macrophytes were surveyed in each pond for up to 40 weeks after excavation.

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust