BASSES - Management and conservation of temporary ponds in Minorca

LIFE05 NAT/E/000058

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Raúl ESCANDELL PRIETO
Tel: +34 971 356251
Email: mamb.cime@silme.es

Project description:


Temporary ponds are ecosystems of fresh water which are formed in cavities or shallow depressions in the land and are generally small size. They have no permanent supply of water and hence only receive water temporarily. Contrasts between droughts and flooding periods impose extreme conditions for species that rely on temporary ponds. Such species have developed survival strategies in unstable environments and this feature makes them unique and interesting. In many cases they are species exclusive to temporary ponds.

Examples of temporary ponds are found in north-west Minorca on the island’s calcareous rocky plateau. These ponds support vegetation communities with a high biodiversity, including some species endemic to the Balearic islands, such as Romulea assumptionis, from the iris family, and Polygonum romanum subsp. Balearicu, from the knotweed family.


The aim of the project was to set up a long-term conservation programme for the priority habitat Mediterranean temporary ponds on the island of Minorca. This involved: designing an integrated management model for the most important temporary ponds on the island; improving knowledge about the dynamics of the temporary ponds habitat; restoring degraded temporary ponds; and raising public awareness about the importance of conserving this habitat (plus small habitats in general).


Six different temporary pond classifications were confirmed by the LIFE project and threats were noted to these unique habitats from land use changes. The LIFE project succeeded in addressing many of these threats and improved the management of Minorca’s temporary pond habitats.

A thorough inventory of the island’s 76 temporary ponds habitats mapped biological and cartographic characteristics. New ponds were identified during this process. Outcomes informed the development of subsequent management actions and led to proposals for inclusion of representative temporary ponds within the Natura 2000 network. The proposals aim to provide legal protection for the ponds’ fragile habitats. It is worth highlighting that all the temporary ponds targeted by this LIFE project are now included in the Natura 2000 network.

Management actions carried out by the project improved many of the ponds in the short term and highlighted the effectiveness of habitat restoration investments. Invasive species were eradicated, vegetation was cleared, road access was controlled, and traditional drainage systems and stone walls were also restored by the LIFE project. Many of these actions have been included in an agri-environmental scheme for the Biosphere Agricultural Contract (CARB) which will help ensure to the long-term continuity of pond conservation actions.

A multidisciplinary technical committee set up by the LIFE project proved to be extremely useful for gaining synergies from the different expertises. The project also improved operational systems for environment management within local government departments and these benefits are now being applied to other initiatives.

Dissemination activities help increase awareness among a variety of island stakeholders about the temporary pond habitats and their unique nature conservation values.

Overall the project can be considered as a reference for management of Mediterranean temporary ponds. The LIFE monitoring team believe that many of the products generated are of great interest for managers of similar habitats and they refer to the project as ”a successful LIFE story”.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Reptiles
Habitats - Freshwater


protected area‚  island‚  nature conservation

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Emys orbicularis   Marsilea strigosa   Testudo hermanni 

Target Habitat types

  • 1410 - Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)
  • 1420 - Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)
  • 1510 - Mediterranean salt steppes (Limonietalia)
  • 3120 - "Oligotrophic waters containing very few minerals generally on sandy soils of the West Mediterranean, with Isoetes spp."
  • 3170 - Mediterranean temporary ponds

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ES0000229 Costa Nord de Ciutadella
SCI ES0000232 La Mola i s'Albufera de Fornells
SCI ES0000233 D'Addaia a s'Albufera
SCI ES0000235 De s'Albufera a la Mola
SCI ES0000238 Son Bou i barranc de sa Vall
SCI ES0000239 De Binigaus a cala Mitjana
SCI ES0000240 Costa Sud de Ciutadella



Coordinator Consell Insular de Menorca
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The Conselleria de Medi Ambient is a public body responsible SPAs on the Spanish island of Minorca.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE05 NAT/E/000058
Duration 01-SEP-2005 to 31-AUG -2009
Total budget 1,013,549.00 €
EU contribution 608,129.00 €
Project location Baleares(España)


Read more:

Leaflet "Management and conservation of Mediterranean Temp ...
Project web site Project's website (also available in Catalan)
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan Plan de Conservación post-LIFE
Publication: Article-Paper "Management and conservation of temporary ponds on ...
Publication: Article-Paper "LIFE Basses : gestió i conservació de basses temp ...
Publication: Article-Paper "Gestión y conservación de estanques temporales en ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Informe Divulgativo
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Gestió i conservació de basses temporals mediterr ...
Publication: Technical report Informe final del proyecto
Video link Project video (18')
Video link Project video (18')
Video link "Audiovisual "El cicle anual"" (8')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version