Ponds are an exceptional freshwater resource around the world and represent thirty percent of the global surface area of standing water. Furthermore, the millions of ponds which exist exhibit a particularly high biodiversity and have a high potential for ecosystem functions and services. Despite these impressive features, ponds face many threats from a variety of human activities and receive little or no protection under European and national legislation. Consequently, there is an urgent need to protect, consolidate and increase the pond resource in Europe. In order to achieve these objectives, the European Pond Conservation Network (EPCN) was launched 2004 in Geneva. Its aim is to promote the awareness, understanding and conservation of these small water bodies in the European landscape. This volume of Developments in Hydrobiology presents a selection of 31 papers presented during EPCN conferences held in 2006 in France (Toulouse) and in 2008 in Spain (Valencia). They represent a diverse collection of themes from across the continent and North Africa and present new and original insights into topics as wide ranging as pond biodiversity; human disturbance; landscape ecology; ecological assessment and monitoring; practical management measures; ecological restoration; hydrology and climate change; invasive species and threatened species.