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Restored and artificial wetlands do not support the same waterbird functional diversity as natural wetlands

The restoration of degraded areas and the creation of artificial ecosystems have partially compensated for the continuing loss of natural wetlands. However, the success of these wetlands in terms of the capacity of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functions is unclear. Natural, restored, and artificially created wetlands present within the Doñana protected area were compared to evaluate if they are equivalent in terms of waterbird functional trait diversity and composition. Functional diversity measures and functional group species richness describing species diet, body mass, and foraging techniques were modelled in 20 wetlands in wintering and breeding seasons. Artificial wetlands constructed for conservation failed to reach the functional diversity of natural and restored wetlands. Unexpectedly, artificial ponds constructed for fish production performed better, and even exceeded natural wetlands for functional richness during winter. Fish ponds stood out as having a unique functional composition, connected with an increase in richness of opportunistic gulls and a decrease in species sensitive to high salinity. Overall, the functional structure of breeding communities was more affected by wetland type than wintering communities. These findings suggest that compensating the loss of natural wetlands with restored and artificial wetlands results in systems with altered waterbird?supported functions. Protection of natural Mediterranean wetlands is vital to maintain the original diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits. Furthermore, restoration must be prioritised over the creation of artificial wetlands, which, even when intended for conservation, may not provide an adequate replacement. informacion[at] Almeida et al. (2020) Comparing the diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits between natural, restored, and artificial wetlands. Freshwater Biology DOI 10.1111/fwb.13618
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Effects of the protection of aeolian sands on the hydroperiod

Effects of the protection of aeolian sands on the hydroperiod

Mediterranean temporary ponds on Doñana's aeolian sands form an extensive system of small dynamic water bodies, dependent on precipitation and groundwater, of considerable importance for biodiversity conservation. Different areas of the aeolian sands have received different levels of environmental protection since 1969, and this has influenced the degree of conservation and the flooding dynamic of these temporary surface waters. The Landsat series of satellite images from 1985 to 2014 was used to study the temporal dynamic of small temporary water bodies on the aeolian sands in relation to the protection level and to distance to water abstraction pressures from agriculture and residential areas. The results show that even with small and ephemeral water bodies optical remote sensing time-series are an effective way to study their flooding temporal dynamics. The protected areas of the aeolian sands hold a better preserved system of temporary ponds, with a flooding dynamic that fluctuates with precipitation. The unprotected area shows an increase in mean hydroperiod duration, and surface flooded, and a decline in hydroperiod variability. This seems to be due to the creation of irrigation ponds and the artificialization of the flooding regime of the natural temporary ponds, which either receive excess irrigation water or dry-up due to the lowering of the groundwater table level. Although a decline in hydroperiod duration of temporary ponds is seen as negative to the system, an increase in hydroperiod of surface waters due to artificialization, or a decline in variability cannot be considered as positive compensatory effects. informacion[at] Bustamante et al (2016) Effect of protection level in the hydroperiod of water bodies on Doñana's aeolian sands. Remote Sens doi:10.3390/rs8100867