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Ecological and Conservation Value of Small Standing-Water Ecosystems: A Systematic Review of Current Knowledge and Future Challenges

1
Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment, CNR, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Parma University, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/a, 43124 Parma, Italy
3
EC Joint Research Centre, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy
4
Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sassari University, Via Piandanna 4, 07100 Sassari, Italy
5
MUSE—Museo delle Scienze, Limnology & Phycology Section, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3, 38123 Trento, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(3), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030402
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract

A small standing-water ecosystem (SWE) is a shallow (<20 m) lentic water body with a surface of a few hectares (≤10 ha). Compared to larger counterparts, they exhibit wider ecotones, sometimes even equaling their whole surface, which maximizes structural heterogeneity, supporting exceptionally high biodiversity, metabolic rates, and functionality. Surprisingly, no binding regulations support global strategies for SWE conservation. This work consists of a literature review performed for the period 2004–2018 to assess the ecological and conservation value of SWEs and the contribution of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in promoting their conservation. Outcomes from this work open new perspectives on SWEs, which emerge as valuable ecosystems, and confirm their pivotal contribution to watershed biodiversity, resilience, and functionality. Results also suggest clear narrative trends and large knowledge gaps across geographical areas, biological components, and target issues. Additionally, we note that SWEs are under-represented in the frame of WFD implementation, stressing their marginality into assessing procedures. All of this calls for further studies, especially outside Europe and with a global, multi-taxon perspective. These should be devoted to quantitatively assess the roles of SWEs in maintaining global water ecosystem quality, biodiversity, and services, and to prioritize management actions for their conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: lentic water bodies; small natural features; aquatic biodiversity; metabolism; eutrophication; nature conservation priorities; WFD; refuges lentic water bodies; small natural features; aquatic biodiversity; metabolism; eutrophication; nature conservation priorities; WFD; refuges
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Bolpagni, R.; Poikane, S.; Laini, A.; Bagella, S.; Bartoli, M.; Cantonati, M. Ecological and Conservation Value of Small Standing-Water Ecosystems: A Systematic Review of Current Knowledge and Future Challenges. Water 2019, 11, 402.

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