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Dear <<First Name>>,

As spring transitions into summer, our dedicated site managers are busy making regular site visits to collect a wide range of physical, chemical and biological data. These data underpin a range of research. Read on to learn about a new investigation into the dynamics of upland moorland vegetation led by the University of Liverpool that used ECN vegetation data.

The team responsible for monitoring and research at our Cairngorms site have been out explaining their work to members of the public at an event in the Cairngorms National Park. They described the monitoring we undertake on site as well as how this has contributed to a range of valuable international studies.

On our website you'll find details of ECN, including information about our long-term monitoring sites, the measurement protocols we use, our available data, ECN-related publications and more. On the home page, our currently featured publication describes an international study to develop global maps of soil temperature that benefited from data provided by two of our sites. Moor House is our current featured site, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Moor House National Nature Reserve.

[Photo: In Alice Holt forest. Gemma Evans on]

New paper investigates sheep grazing and air pollution effects on moorland vegetation

Newly published research led by the University of Liverpool and using vegetation data collected at ECN's Moor House-Upper Teesdale site has investigated the dynamics of upland moorland vegetation.

To address research questions concerning the possible impacts of land abandonment on upland plant communities, the team used long-term (1954-2016) vegetation data collected from areas that were either grazed by sheep or left ungrazed within sheep exclosures. Since 1993, ECN has surveyed vegetation at the study sites.

Overall, the results indicate that vegetation richness and abundance on grazed plots are recovering from past management and environmental impacts, albeit slowly. The results support the idea that vascular plants, mosses and liverworts are recovering from historically high levels of pollutant deposition (sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide), which is consistent with some other studies. In contrast, lichen species are not recovering, and in fact, the team found that the overall abundance of lichen species is decreasing.

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ECN Cairngorms work showcased at Nature Big Weekend

Explaining ECN work in the Cairngorms to members of the public
Environmental Change Network monitoring at the Cairngorms ECN site was among the activities showcased at a recent public event in the Cairngorms National Park.

On 15th May, a team from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology jointly hosted an event (with Dundee University) in Kincraig as part of the Cairngorms Nature Big Weekend. The event aimed to show people some of the scientific research that takes place in the Cairngorms National Park. Aimed at all age groups, it was an opportunity for people to contribute their own ideas about the research needed in the park.

Environmental Change Network monitoring at the Cairngorms ECN site was among the activities showcased. Much of our monitoring, which has been ongoing since 1999, takes place in the Allt a'Mharcaidh valley close to Kincraig.

Read full article

ECN sites: Great places for research & teaching

The wide range of environmental measurements, wealth of historical data and local knowledge of site managers mean that many ECN sites are excellent locations for field environmental research and teaching. If you are also interested in conducting research at an ECN site, please contact us. From time-to-time there are opportunities for people outside the UK to visit selected ECN sites as part of EU-funded projects.
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