Legacy4LIFE Ponds For Biodiversity Project

An Taisce’s Legacy4LIFE Ponds For Biodiversity project aims to promote the establishment
of a pond network across Ireland as a measure for climate action, biodiversity restoration
and conservation.

Why Ponds?

Ponds constitute easily established low cost actions that can be applied at national and local
levels to tackle both the biodiversity and climate emergencies. They act as a fundamental
tool for carbon sequestration, as ponds have the potential to sequester 20-30 times the
amount of carbon compared with woodlands, grasslands and other habitats (Taylor et al.,

The establishment of pond networks across Ireland also incur ecological and landscape
benefits, acting as wildlife refuges for biodiversity as well as measures for water
provisioning, flood control, groundwater recharge, and pollution amelioration, therefore
playing a key role as a nature-based solution in national climate adaptation.
In fact, ponds have been demonstrated to host more biodiversity than rivers and lakes,
particularly macroinvertebrates and less common species. In addition, they provide a host of
community benefits, including opportunities for recreation, education, improved health and
wellbeing, and community participation.

However, to date their importance has largely been overlooked in Ireland, despite having
been demonstrated to host two thirds of all freshwater species, particularly
macroinvertebrates. Ponds are in decline as we have dramatically changed the landscape
due to intensified agriculture and increased urban sprawl, leaving very little habitat left for
them to flourish Sadly, over 50% of Ireland’s amphibian wetlands have been lost to
drainage, industrial peat extraction, pollution and natural senescence in the past 100 years.
Of the 12,200 small enclosed water bodies across Ireland, 8,000 are less than a hectare in
extent and the smallest categories have been subject to the greatest pressures. Yet, the
smallest ponds provide valuable habitats for a range of species: insects such as damselflies,
dragonflies, pond skaters and whirligig beetles, amphibians such as frogs and newts, and
birds such as Mallard, Moorhen, Snipe, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting as
well as productive hunting grounds for Ireland’s 9 species of bat.

Ponds For Biodiversity Goals

The Legacy4LIFE Pond team aims to assist in reversing this decline by encouraging
development of healthy pond systems across the country. This will be achieved by
assessing the current status of ponds in Ireland, collaborating with key stakeholders
including Local Authorities, schools and scouts etc. to facilitate the development of these
ponds and by providing education and guidance around pond creation and the benefits of
ponds via the delivery of education materials as well as education workshops for both

relevant stakeholders and the wider public. Already, our highly skilled and knowledgeable
Pond Development Officers Rob Gandola and Aoife O Rourke have hosted a number of
workshops during National Biodiversity Week National Heritage Week and at Wildacres
Nature Reserve, Co. Wicklow.

The incorporation of pond development in a number of County and Town Development
Plans as well as National plans for the environment will be key in the progress of this

To learn more about the Legacy4LIFE Ponds For Biodiversity Project, please visit the
Legacy4LIFE webpage on the An Taisce website here.