The effects of urbanization on biodiversity are already evident in the UK, and with continued development are expected to increase. We are exploring the impacts of urbanisation on biodiversity and how we can reduce the impact our towns and cities have on biodiversity.
The research is taking place at the University of Reading and has two main approaches.
- The first involves field tests taking place on the university campus to investigate habitat variables colonisation.
- The second is exploring how ponds colonise in urban environments. This will be used to assess the effect urban areas have on biodiversity.
In addition to our research program we are also looking to create new habitats as part of the Reading Urban Pond Project.
What is the Reading Urban Pond Project?
Well, pond creation can greatly increase biodiversity of an area, even when the extent of water is small. For over a century pond habitats in the UK have been in significant decline. Even ponds that still exist are often badly damaged by pollution.
Making new ponds is a simple and effective way of protecting freshwater wildlife. The project will establish a network of new ponds around the Berkshire area. It will be the first urban ‘pondscape’ of its kind to be created from scratch. The ponds will cover urban and sub-urban areas towards the east of Reading.
The aim is to enhance the biodiversity of these urban areas by providing a clean and safe aquatic habitat that can also act as stepping-stones across the urban environment. Each wildlife pond will be located in the security of volunteer’s private gardens. By doing this we are aiming to creating a new habitat and new environmental stewards. Public engagement and regular biodiversity monitoring will help maintain the ponds as habitats to support biodiversity.
How the Reading Urban Pond Project fits into Biodiversity Action Plan frameworks
UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)
- 10% of the 943 species on the UK BAP are associated with pond habitats.
- Wildlife ponds provide homes to more BAP species than rivers and lakes.
Regional BAP (Reading)
- The ponds that the Urban Pond Project creates help the Berkshire target of creating 100 pond habitats by 2015.
- Pond habitats and private gardens are both recognized as priority habitats.
- Ponds support 45% of the 11 species on the Species Action Plan Priority List.
- Ponds also support 28% of the 39 species on the Species Action Plan.