Metropolitan France has about 650,000 ponds, or an average of one pond per 100 inhabitants. Biodiversity reservoirs, essential habitats or breeding grounds for many species of plants, birds, insects and amphibians, these ecosystems deserve greater recognition, care and conservation. guard.
“The ponds do not depend on people”
Fake. Completely opposite! “It’s quite unusual that 95% of the ponds are built by humans“, Emphasized Bertrand Sajaloli, Geography Lecturer in Orléans and expert on the geological history of the ponds, during a press conference (May 24, 2022).
The first ponds actually date back to the Neolithic period, more than 10,000 years ago. “If women and men build ponds, it’s because they need themSo, in the Beauce region, until the beginning of the 20th century, sheep farmers were able to benefit from access to water through ponds – when they could be about forty kilometers from the first river.
“A typical Beauceron farm consists of 7 ponds, each with a specific function: a pond for bathing before going home, a pond for bathing the pigs, but can also be a decorative pond. (for aesthetic purposes, Ed) “, details of Bertrand Sajaloli.”The villages also have leech ponds, ponds for growing hemp and flax, and ponds for fire fighting.“
“Pots help us adapt to climate change”
THAT’S RIGHT. If wetlands have an important “ecosystem function”, contributing to water regulation and cleaning (hydrological role), then ponds, on a smaller scale, provide us with freshness. . This is especially true in cities, where climate change reinforces heat islands.
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Also, on a planetary scale, ponds store more CO2 than all the seas and oceans combined. “Ponds are great allies for the climate“, Abstract Rémi Luglia, President of the National Association for the Protection of Nature (SNPN).
“The ponds are all the same”
Fake. “When you write the word ‘mare’, you write it with the letter ‘s’. Because they are so diverse, with very diverse sizes, from farming ponds or forest ponds – occupying only a few square meters – to hunting or communal ponds, which can be over several hectares.“, explains Pierre Caessteker, Wetlands & Wetlands Project Manager at the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB).
There are even special “temporary” ponds created by tractors, the tracks of which form trenches in the ground. It is in this wonderful habitat that the yellow-bellied toad can be found: “The trenches are filled with rainwater, amphibians spawn there, then the pool is temporarily depleted“, Designate the president of the SNPN.
The frog, unloved in stories and legends
“The ponds do not interest the artist”
Fake. Have you seen the famous Leonardo da Vinci “Mona Lisa” in detail? If you examine this painting carefully, you will notice that, behind the Mona Lisa, there is a pond. A type of landscape often found in the background of other works by the Italian genius, such as his “Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and an Angel”. The ponds were also the inspiration for impressionist Claude Monet, author of “Water Lilies,” a series of 250 oil paintings.
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But perhaps in the literature we find the most mentions of ponds, like “Devil’s pond“, novel by George Sand (1846). The central element of the stories of Maupassant, the pond is associated with values that are sometimes negative, sometimes positive, and this, since the Bible – where at the same time the pond”associated with death and sin“but also to”chaos of creation, source of life“, Bertrand Sajaloli noted.
The small screen is also not immune to this phenomenon, such as the film adaptations of the literary works of the French novelist Fred Vargas – where ponds are ubiquitous.
THAT’S RIGHT. At the end of the 19th century, when agricultural density was at its maximum, France had the most ponds: “about 10 times more than today“, believes Bertrand Sajaloli. Ponds then have ceased to be a rarity in our landscape, especially since the water network has flowed to the countryside. Since then,Filling the pond has become a mark of modern times“, the teacher-researcher explains.
“To take the example of caged fish ponds, we observe a rather large disappearance due to the development of agricultural industries. France has lost 31% of herdsmen, especially replaced by grain farming – no pond needed“, appointing Pierre Cessteker of OFB.”In our time we continue to see ponds disappear“, Rémi Luglia warned.
“Ponds disappear because they have lost their usefulness to humans. Now let’s recreate the pond to recreate life!“, call the president of SNPN.”We must take action and put the ponds on the urban planning record“, Calling for his part Muriel Martin-Dupray, co-president of the French association for the Natural Environment (FNE) Ile-de-France.
“Anyone can make a pond”
THAT’S RIGHT. If you have your own land, you can create a pond. “You dig a hole in your garden and a year or two later, you have a working ecosystem“, summarizes Rémi Luglia.”As long as you don’t use pesticides, don’t tear things up… and don’t release your goldfish there, they will eat animals that have settled in the wild!“
“The pond attracts mosquitoes”
Fake. If mosquitoes bother us, they are still the basis of the diet of many animals, such as swallows. Thus, in a pond, “mosquitoes are quickly eaten by their natural predators“, Pierre Cessteker of OFB, interviewed by GEO.fr.
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To avoid mosquito breeding in ponds, wetland experts recommend 3 simple solutions to implement:
- Raise the water level of the pond (there may be a hose nearby). Mosquitoes that bite humans only lay eggs at a very shallow depth (a few centimeters), because the water temperature there is very conducive to the hatching process.
- Surround the pond with vegetation – but not just lawns (even less concrete!).
- Let frogs and other amphibians settle in your pond, this will help limit the number of mosquitoes left.
“Of the thirty species of mosquitoes that exist in France, only three are of interest to us“, underlined Pierre Caessteker. Of these three species – whose females feed on our blood to feed their larvae, one has an odd origin: the tiger mosquito, which prefers to settle in areas urban or suburban, find the ideal habitat lay their eggs in planters on our balcony, the other 2 species are native and are found more in the countryside.
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“There is a party of the pond”
THAT’S RIGHT. Fête des Mares 2022, organized by SNPN with a group of associations (Aspas, LPO …) and supported by OFB, takes place from May 28 to June 5.
Among the activities planned for this year, we can take for example:
The full program of the 2022 Mares Festival can be viewed on the SNPN website.
And to dig into the subject, look on DVD for the documentary “The Palaver ponds in Paris“, to which the association FNE Ile-de-France contributed.
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What is the difference between a frog and a toad?