Climate change: ponds to the rescue?

Largely neglected and generally undervalued, ponds are actually remarkably important for biodiversity conservation. The EU-funded PONDERFUL project investigates how ponds can be used as nature-based solutions (NBS) for climate change adaptation.


Pond Ecosystems for Resilient Future Landscapes

PONDERFUL (POND Ecosystems for Resilient Future Landscapes in a changing climate) is a H2020 “Research and Innovation Programme” project funded by the European Union within the Call: Inter-relations between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The significance of ponds has long been underestimated and they lie largely outside regulatory systems. However, thanks to their abundance, heterogeneity, exceptional biodiversity inherent naturalness and biogeochemical potency, ponds play a crucial role in catchments, landscapes, and potentially at continental scale which is completely out of proportion to their small size.

The overarching aim of the project, led by the University of Vic (Spain), is to develop improved methods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes to mitigate and adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services.

30-50% of standing water worldwide

70% of regional freshwater species pool in European landscapes, many of them rare, endemic or threatened species

50-90% of of pond losses in European countries over the past century

Significant role in mitigating and adapting to climate change

Ponds deliver multiple ecosystem services and NPCs: carbon shortage, water provisioning, flood control, groundwater recharge, pollution amelioration, recreation

Implementation of ponds and pondscapes as Nature-Based Solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation and delivery of ecosystem services

Our Objectives


Develop a multidimensional framework to support the effective implementation of pondscape NBS for CC mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation and ES/NCP delivery, based on empirical investigation and collaboration with stakeholders


Understand how biodiversity, ecosystem state and processes, and ES/NCP co-vary and interact in pondscapes across a climatic gradient


Use empirical data, incorporating direct and indirect interactions and feedbacks between CC, biodiversity, ES and connectivity, to develop a modelling framework predicting the impact of CC on biodiversity and ES of ponds for various land use and pondscape scenarios


Develop efficient and effective NBS for CC adaptation and mitigation through pondscape management as well as tools and guidance for their implementation


Communication, dissemination and exploitation of the results

Our Structure

Key Elements


between biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and climate in pondscapes at multiple spatial scales


for pondscapes in EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in the context of climate change, land use change, and changed policies


effective and multifunctional, to be developed and tested at demonstration sites in EU and CELAC countries


on a sustainable finance and investment for NBS implementation


assessment of the proposed NBS in relation to existing barriers, enabling factors, financing and as economic viability, as well as social perceptions of benefits from pond NBS


to ensure that the scientific knowledge produced on the benefits of using pondscapes as ecosystems delivering multiple services is explicitly considered in decision making from local management to EU policies

AARHUS Universitet

The Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University (AU) comprises >15 research groups and about 500 staff members and carries out basic research and strategic research as well as research-based consultancy services on all aspects of aquatic sciences.

Amphi International APS

Amphi International Aps is a Danish environmental consulting company with expertise in nature protection, conservation biology & management as well as urban ecology, water management and adaptation to climate change.

Bangor University

The School of Natural Sciences (SNS) at Bangor University (BU) has an active research program focussing on interdisciplinary research into agriculture, forestry, conservation, geography, policy, and ecosystem services.

Ecologic Institut gemeinnützige GmbH

ECOLOGIC Institute is a private not-for-profit think-tank for applied environmental research, policy analysis and consultancy with offices in Berlin, Brussels and Washington DC. Since its founding in 1995, ECOLOGIC Institute has built a reputation for excellence in transdisciplinary and policy-relevant research.

European Pond Conservation Network

The EPCN is a European network of academics, practitioners and stakeholders united by their joint interest in the conservation of ponds.

Freshwater Habitats Trust

Freshwater Habitats Trust (FHT) is a UK-based registered charity (Charity no. 1107708) which was originally founded in 1988 as ‘Pond Action’. The organisation’s mission is to protect freshwater life for everyone to enjoy.

Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale

HES-SO is the largest university of applied sciences (UAS) in Switzerland and the second largest higher education institution of the country. Education and research are oriented towards practical applications. HES-SO offers a large variety of education programmes.

IGB im Forschungsverbund Berlin

The Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) is the largest freshwater research institute in Germany. It is an extra-university research centre within the Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Leibniz (WGL).

Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture Rhône-Alpes I.S.A.R.A.

ISARA is a French “grande école” (graduate college) recognized by the French Ministry of Agriculture and is located in Lyon.

Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research

CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research of University of Porto) was established in 2000 and mobilises a multidisciplinary, highly skilled and motivated team (418 members, including 189 with PhD) that works at the frontier of blue knowledge and innovation.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

KUL is currently by far the largest university in Belgium in terms of research funding and expenditure, and is a charter member of LERU (League of European Research Universities). KUL conducts fundamental and applied research in all academic disciplines with a clear international orientation.

Middle East Technical University

Middle East Technical University (METU), founded in 1956, is an international research university which seeks excellence in serving the country, region and the world.

Randbee Consultants SL

Randbee Consultants (RANDBEE) is a private consultancy company based in Málaga (Spain).

Technische Universität München

Founded in 1868, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe’s top universities.

Universidad de la República Uruguay

UdelaR is the most important, oldest, and the only public, state university in Uruguay. It conducts more than 90% of the research and generation of new knowledge and is the main responsible of higher education in the county.

Universitat de Girona

University of Girona (UdG) is located in Girona city and is part of the Catalan public university system since 1992. The research at UdG is carried out in more than 100 research groups associated to 22 departments and 12 research institutes.

University College London

UCL has a global reputation for excellence in research and is committed to delivering impact and innovations that enhance the lives of people in the UK, across Europe and around the world.

University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia

The University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia (UVic), whose titular entity is the Balmes University Foundation, is an independent university with public sector supervision that carries out basic and applied research, and upper education by means of teaching and continued formation.

Uppsala Universitet

Uppsala University is the Nordic region’s oldest university – founded in 1477 – and is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.