Forgotten vernal pools

Vernal pools or temporary ponds are among the least known ecosystems. In more southern areas where amphibians are diverse, vernal pools have been studied with frogs in mind, but that’s not the case in boreal areas. However, apart from amphibians, little information on species, communities and ecosystem function of vernal pools exists.

Two relatively recent books, ”Vernal Pools” (2004) by E.A. Colburn and ”Science and Conservation of Vernal Pools in Northeastern North America” (2008) by A.J.K. nicely put together what is known. Calhoun and Maynadier suggest that vernal pools could act as keystone habitats in forested landscapes. Such areas are habitats whose effect on the surrounding landscape is greater than one would predict based on their area. They note, however, that in many cases this might be difficult to demonstrate in a scientifically rigorous manner.

The books show, for example, that extremely little is known of such a generally well known group as the birds. Not to mention many invertebrate groups of which very little is known even at a general level.

Vernal pool conservation is crucially important in amphibian conservation. But there very likely are many conservation aspects within them of which we don’t even know yet.

See the extended Finnish version from here