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Farmland ponds represent habitats with a high conservation value that make a significant contribution to regional biodiversity. Understanding the influence of plant species composition and environmental variables in driving variations in animal species composition in ponds is an important issue in the fields of ecological research and conservation biology. Using variance partitioning techniques to quantify independent effects, we examined how plant species composition, local-landscape configuration and physicochemical variables interact in influencing aquatic insect and amphibian community composition. The ponds investigated in this study were located in the Site of Community Importance — Special Protected Area (Natura 2000 Network) “Monte Labbro — Alta Valle dell’Albegna” (Tuscany, central Italy). Our results showed that: (i) plant community composition (such as Carex hirta, Glicerya fluitans, Potamogeton natans, Typha latifolia) is a good predictor for amphibian but not for aquatic insect species composition; (ii) aquatic insect species composition was more strongly affected by the landscape context, whereas for amphibians the local characteristics of the ponds were determining; (iii) the physicochemical context is a poor predictor for these animal taxa; (iv) lastly, and notably, the explanatory variables explained a high proportion of the total variation in amphibian and aquatic insect species composition. Our results have important implications with respect to the creation of new ponds, which should preferentially take place close to semi-natural grasslands and other wetlands, in order to maintain greater connectivity, and away from urban areas. Moreover, larger ponds are preferable for the preservation of pond biodiversity. The management and conservation of ponds is necessary to ensure the protection of habitats, the survival of individual species and overall pond biodiversity.

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2000 Szirmai O. (2003): Nature conservation values of the Tardona Hills. (In Hungarian with English summary.) Issue book of IX. National Student Conference on

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Regeneration potential is regarded as a kind of functional indicator, which is applied for the assessment of the habitat quality and a kind of nature conservation value. In this context “quality” does not refer to the actual state but possibilities for the future. During the MÉTA project, regeneration potential have been recorded on the scale of the quadrates (35 km 2 , 2,813 quadrates in Hungary), for each habitat of the quadrate (ignoring some featureless habitats). We have estimated three different kinds of regeneration potential: on spot, on the place of neighbours and on old-fields open water, bare rock. The categories used were: good regeneration ability, moderate, low, or there is no place for regeneration.Values of regeneration potential on spot are usually rather high. Habitats with the highest regeneration potential are the aquatic ones, shrub vegetation, halophytic vegetation, marshes, grasslands with woodland origin, sand poplar-juniper woodlands, and the poorest is the regeneration potential of the forest steppe woodlands. Lower are the values of the regeneration potential of each vegetation type on the place of the neighbours. Relatively easily spread onto the neighbouring vegetation patches the halophytic habitats, poplar-juniper woodlands, the secondary shrub vegetation, some aquatic habitats, certain riverine vegetation types and marshes. Moderate or lower is this value of this regeneration potential category for the xeric highland woodlands, rocky habitats, xeric and mesic lowland woodlands, grasslands with woodland origin and some fen vegetation types. In spite of the rather low values calculated for the whole country, the following habitats regenerate relatively well on old-fields, open water or rock surfaces, or in abandoned vineyards: the dry secondary shrub vegetation, poplar-juniper woodlands, Scots pine woodlands, halophytic habitats, some aquatic habitats and marshes. Most habitats regenerate poorly, for example, the zonal woodlands. Never or barely regenerate on old-fields: some fen habitats, the steppe oak woodlands, mesic lowland woodlands, some rock habitats, acidophilous woodlands, the zonal woodlands, the rock and sand coniferous woodlands.When comparing the values of regeneration potential on spot, on the place of the neighbours and on old-fields, most striking is the fact that the least habitats have moderate or high regeneration ability in case of the third kind of regeneration potential, and regeneration ability on adjacent vegetation patch represent a transitional state from this aspect. Some of the edaphic habitats are quite mobile (e.g. halophytic, marsh or certain fen habitats), while others migrate only rarely (rock or other fen vegetation types). Some habitats though regenerate admirably on spot, yet never invade new areas; for instance, rock vegetation, acidophilous woodlands, grasslands with woodland origin. Others has almost the same regeneration potential values on spot as on the place of the neighbours, e.g. some steppe woodlands and shrub habitats on their own clearings, or some habitats of secondary origin. Certain rock habitats, some fen and riverine vegetation types and some of the close woodlands regenerate well on spot, but almost never on old-fields. There are some habitats, which has high regeneration potential on the place of the neighbours, but has low values for the old-fields. Most of them are closed woodlands, shrub and certain fen habitats.According to our expectations, the experience gained during the MÉTA mapping will give an impulse to the study on regeneration potential.

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Fehér, Z., G. Majoros and A. Varga. 2006. A scoring method for the assessment of rarity and conservation value of the aquatic molluscs in Hungary. Heldia 6:101–114. Varga A. A

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Russell, K.N., H. Ikerd and S. Droege. 2005. The potential conservation value of unmowed powerline strips for native bees. Biol. Cons. 124:133–148. Droege S. The potential

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84 337 350 Lewis, T., N. Reid, P.J. Clarke and R.D.B. Whalley. 2010. Resilience of a high conservation value, semi-arid grassland on fertile clay

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conservation value forpeat bogs . Biol. Conserv. 12 : 420 – 428 . Shannon , C.E. 1948 . A mathematical theory of communication . Bell System Tech. J. 27 : 379 – 423

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3 16 Linton, S. and Goulder, R. (2000): Botanical conservation value related to origin and management of ponds. — Aquat. Conserv. Marine and Freshwat. Ecosyst. 10 : 77

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1996 Spyreas, G. and J. W. Matthews. 2006. Floristic conservation value, nested understory floras, and the development of second-growth forest

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394 Köhler, B., A. Gigon, P. Edwards, B. Krüsi, R. Langenauer, A. Lüscher and P. Ryser. 2005. Changes in the species composition and conservation value of limestone grasslands in Northern

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