Category Archives: Research

Llennyrch NVC survey part 2, Snowdonia (2016)

What a pleasure to be working with Enfys Ecology and the Woodland Trust on a conservation project – makes a change from the usual development schemes!  This was part 2 of a survey which my colleague Lucia Ruffino and I started last year.  The first part was mostly grassland with some interesting boggy bits, the highlight for me being finding white beak-sedge which I hadn’t seen in forever.  This year’s part was much bigger, 11 days survey for both of us, and covered a swathe of land from Trawsfynydd Lake up the hills behind to an altitude of about 300m.

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Grassland and woodland survey, Snowdonia, North Wales (2015)

What a treat to visit some traditionally managed land which retains much of its ecological character and interest.  And I got paid!  This really can be the best job in the world sometimes 🙂

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A tour of SSSIs. With a bit of soil sampling thrown in. (2014)

Fancy a tour of SSSIs?  Want to get paid for it?  Yes please!

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Vegetation survey for Natural England’s Long Term Monitoring Network, Cambridgeshire (2014)

So you’ve probably heard of ECN, the Environmental Change Network?  It’s a network of sites at which long term environmental monitoring and research is being done to help detect long-term environmental change.  Such as climate change.  Natural England have decided to get more involved with this sort of research and are setting up their own Long Term Monitoring Network using many of the methods pioneered by the ECN.  There will be 40 sites and at each one the following data will be collected (taken from NE website):

  • Weather (at least hourly)
  • Air pollution – diffuse ammonia and wet (precipitation) deposition (monthly)
  • Butterflies (weekly during the flying season)
  • Birds (twice a year)
  • Vegetation (every four years)
  • Soils (every six years)
  • Land management activities (as they arise)

Being a botanist, I was asked to help with the vegetation survey at Woodwalton and Holme Fens, and on the land inbetween which will in due course become The Great Fen.  This involved going to specific grid references and setting up permanent quadrats to record full details of the vegetation present.  Easy.  Right???

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Does Environmental Stewardship work ? Part 2 – fen surveys (2014)

Following on from the species-rich grassland survey, a friend and I were asked to survey nine wetland sites as part of a similar project on fens.  This time, there was no previous survey data and our mission was to map vegetation and establish new locations for quadrats which, we hope, someone will come back to in a few years’ time to find out what has been happening to the vegetation.

fen habitat Continue reading

Does Environmental Stewardship work ? Species-rich grassland surveys (2014)

I relish the opportunity to get involved with research projects and this one is, I think, particularly important.  We pay farmers a fair bit of money each year via Environmental Stewardship and Higher Level Stewardship and I’d like to know what I’m getting for my money.  Wouldn’t you ?  So, does stewardship actually work ?  Are fields in Higher Level Stewardship more interesting and better ecologically now than they were when they first came into the scheme ?

Hay meadow, Derbyshire Continue reading

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.

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