At the end of October, excavation of ponds began in Ljubljansko barje at land plots recently purchased by Krajinski park Ljubljansko barje Public Institute for nature conservation purposes. The ponds will form a network (»pondscape«) of water habitats, improving amphibian breeding sites.  

The improvement of amphibian reproduction habitats is one of the key measures for amphibian conservation. New ponds, as well as other conservation measures, are placed around Bistra, Pako and Podkraj in the southern part of Ljubljansko barje. 

In the last 200 years Ljubljansko barje, once the largest and southernmost high bog in Europe has been transformed into agricultural land with fields, meadows, pastures and hedgerows. For many aquatic species, a dense network of ditches has become their main habitat. 

In summer, the ditches drain water and water habitats dry up. Since amphibian larvae live in water, reproduction of species taking place through the warmer months or taking a longer period of time, often ends badly. Due to global climate change, long, dry and hot summers are becoming more frequent, and the development cycle of these species is ending unsuccessfully more and more commonly. Suitable water habitats can be provided by excavating new ponds deep enough to keep them from drying up during the summer.

Most of the ponds are located along the edges of the land plots, while the rest of the land plot is dedicated to the restoration of terrestrial amphibian habitats (extensive meadows). In addition, more than two kilometers of new hedgerows and numerous patches of shrubs will be established since most amphibian species spend the majority of the year in their terrestrial habitats, where they feed and hibernate. They also use terrestrial habitats as migration corridors.

Excavations in Ljubljansko barje will be completed by spring, when the first amphibians head to breeding sites.

Foto: K. Drašler, J. Tarman, T. Porenta