Tour du Valat publication on Mediterranean temporary pools

02/10/2004

Mediterranean Temporary Pools / Les mares temporaires méditerranéennes

At the culmination of a European Union-funded project (LIFE Nature programme), the Biological Station Tour du Valat (located in France's Camargue Ramsar Site) has published a comprehensive, two-volume document on “Mediterranean Temporary Pools”, in both English and French versions. The project covered field work at seven sites in Mediterranean France including Corsica, and the report refers also to results of parallel studies at a number of additional sites in Morocco and Algeria.

The project activities included the furthering of knowledge and the drawing-up of management plans for the seven sites, control over land ownership and land use at these sites, specific management interventions, and efforts to raise local awareness about the sites’ values. Volume I of the report covers general issues related to conservation, functioning and management of temporary pools. Specific chapters address biodiversity and conservation issues, ecosystem and population functioning and dynamics, threats to Mediterranean temporary pools, management and restoration methods, monitoring, and education and communication needs. Furthermore, the 120-page booklet contains a glossary and extensive bibliography. Volume II provides species information sheets presenting the characteristics of a number of typical species living in temporary pools: 29 plants, 5 macro-crustaceans, 6 dragonflies and 5 amphibians. The sheets cover the description and identification of the species, a comparison with similar species, as well as aspects of their distribution and ecology, conservation and management, including specific recommendations, plus a bibliography.

Temporary pools are small, shallow wetlands characterized by alternating phases of drought and flooding and by very self-contained hydrology. They occur in depressions which are often endorheic, that are submerged for sufficiently long periods of time to allow the development of hydromorphic soils, aquatic or semi-aquatic vegetation and specific animal communities. The above-cited project was a substantial trigger for Resolution VIII.33, adopted by the Contracting Parties at Ramsar COP8 in Valencia, providing "Guidance for identifying, sustainably managing, and designating temporary pools as Wetlands of International Importance". The two volumes "Mediterranean Temporary Pools / Les mares temporaires méditerranéennes" now provide easily accessible and substantial scientific and technical details to further illustrate and support the Guidance provided through Resolution VIII.33. Contracting Parties and wetland managers are encouraged to consult them whenever a management question or problem arises -- most probably they will find an answer here. Tour du Valat should be congratulated for these very well illustrated and nicely produced volumes, full of helpful information and conservation facts.

The booklets can be downloaded in pdf-format from www.tourduvalat.org . Printed copies can be ordered at secretariat@tourduvalat.org for the shipping costs of 10 EUR.

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