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LFA für Feldherpetologie und Ichthyofaunistik

LIFE AMPHIKULT 350 Ponds for Lower Saxony

Welcome to the website of the LIFEproject AMPFHIKULT which is being carried out by Lower Saxony's Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). We provide information on the project's background, the measures to be taken as well as news updates.

Frogs on TV

May 2011

NDR documentary on ponds and their populations

2011 frogs on tv
NABU Niedersachsen‘s Dr. Markus Richter during the shooting of a film on ponds and their populations

18 May 2011 – A film about ponds and their inhabitants during the course of a year – with a special focus on amphibians - is currently being produced in the Dümmer Nature Park (Diepholz district). The film is being produced by the production company AZ Media TV in Hannover on behalf of the NDR. It is part of the sequel 'NaturNah' and will be 30 minutes long. Dr. Markus Richter of NABU Niedersachsen, an expert on amphibians and project manager of the amphibian protection project LIFE-AMPHIKULT, will provide professional guidance and also have a chance to speak within the film. Susanne Schlink and Stefanie Milost are supervising the project at AZ Media TV.

Bodies of water near Thielmannshorst were chosen for the shots. Three ponds were created in this area a few years ago. A loop trail and lookout provide fantastic opportunities for close observation of the numerous frogs and newts – not only for camera crews. Several sign-boards provide information on the species populating the area.

The film focuses on the changes of the pond over the course of the year as well as on the various inhabitants both under and above water. Another topic that is dealt with is the protection of amphibians through NABU’s AMPHIKULT project. During film shooting in mid-May, the European tree frog was at the centre of attention. Loud calls emitted by the males at dusk fall to attract females provided an impressive backdrop. Markus Richter estimates that there are about 50 to 60 calling males within the three water bodies – one of the largest populations in the district. Further film shooting will look into maintenance measures, a vespertine excursion and the creation of new ponds by means of excavators.

New ponds well-filled

February 2011

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Last autumn, the first new water bodies of the Amphikult project were completed. The excavators had left a scene that rather resembled a building site: a small puddle at the bottom of a muddy building pit. In the meantime, the scene has changed considerably.

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Thanks to the precipitation of the last months, the water bodies have become well-filled. By now, many are brimming to the rim and already fit the picture of how a pond should look. "In the course of the upcoming vegetation period, the first plants will start to grow in the water and on the banks. By then, little will be left to remind us of the excavators' work" according to project manager Dr. Markus Richter. Whether or not the first toads will show up for spawning with the coming spring depends on several factors: Some species won't settle until more extensive vegetation has developed over the next few years. Not the Natterjack Toad, though. This toad's preferred spawning grounds are absolutely bare bodies of water. Indeed, it often disappears after a few years when a pond has become too overgrown with vegetation. Now and then, Natterjack Toads are to be found at actual building sites or in sand pits. "What humans might find rather ugly can be amazingly attractive to the Natterjack Toad".

Measures completed

December 2010
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In time for the turn of the year, the first  new water bodies have been completed. Altogether, 30 bodies of water  were created in three different areas.

At the beginning of October, the first excavators came rolling in and, at first, made good headway. “Towards the end, however, the situation became somewhat anxiety-ridden”. According to project manager Markus Richter, increasingly wet weather rendered further excavations impossible.  All our hopes centred on a few days of frost, which finally materialized. Once the ground was frozen, the excavators were able to get back to work and dig out the last ponds. “This shows the quality of our excavating companies, which do very well even under adverse conditions.”
In the meantime, preparations for the next season are underway. Sixty new ponds – twice as many as in 2010 - are scheduled to be put in place during the new year.

LIFE AMPHIKULT 350 Ponds for Lower Saxony

Welcome to the website of the LIFE project AMPFHIKULT which is being carried out by Lower Saxony's Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). We provide information on the project's background, the measures to be taken as well as news updates.