Centre for Ecology and Hydrology vegetation monitoring (2013)

My first ever consultancy research project 🙂  Well, strictly speaking, not my project, but the first one I’ve ever been paid to contribute to.  If you’ve ever been to Clocaenog Forest near Ruthin or Peaknaze above Glossop and wondered what those funny metal squares were on the hill, well, n0w I can tell you.

view of Peaknaze site

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) run the INCREASE project, which is a large-scale experiment focused on predicting the effects of climate change.  The funny metal squares are experimental plots, each one having a slightly different set-up, so that the effects of the experiment on vegetation and soils can be studied.  Some of the plots are controls, i.e., they haven’t been messed about with in any way.  Some of the plots have special roofs which scroll over them at dusk to keep them warm at night and others have different roofs which only activate when it rains, to create drought conditions.

Vegetation monitoring is carried out at both Clocaenog and Peaknaze on a regular basis and consists of point quadratting to a standard method.  So that surveyors don’t damage the vegetation by trampling on it, all surveys take place using planks laid over permanent scaffolding on each plot.  Here’s my fellow surveyor Rob in action so you can see what it was like:

Surveying in progress

As you can see from the photos, the sites had great views and when the weather was kind it was very enjoyable to be out on the hill knowing that we were contributing to scientific research.  Not quite so much fun when it started hailing, but the Peaknaze site has a secret weapon – a shed where workers can go to make a brew in the event of inclement weather – so we had a couple of unscheduled tea breaks 🙂

I am looking forward to hearing how my work has contributed to the overall experimental findings and will update this post when I find out.

Thanks to Rob who put my name forward to join the team. Hope I can do the same for you soon.

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