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Programme, Day 2

The current draft programme. Please note that this programme is subject to change. The final programme will be provided at the symposium

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ECN at 20 triptych narrow
Day 2

Tuesday 13 May


for those attending on Tuesday only


3. Interactions between regional pressures and local management


Nigel Critchley, ADAS
Changes in ecological communities on farmland in relation to management that reflects shifting agricultural policies
Despite the various policies, action plans and environmental schemes in place to halt the loss of biodiversity, many taxa are still declining nationally. Some of these declines have been attributed to trends in the prevailing environment but agricultural land management has also changed in response to shifting agricultural and environmental policies. It is important therefore to know the relative influence on biodiversity of underlying long-term environmental change compared to local changes in land management. Nigel will explain how management of the ECN Drayton site has mirrored changes in agricultural and environmental policies since 1992. He will discuss how, using ECN datasets, changes in community composition have been analysed along with changes to agricultural management and variation in weather and other environmental factors. The results will be discussed in the context of biodiversity conservation and the policy drivers that might influence its outcomes on agricultural land.

09:00 – 09:20

Rob Marrs, University of Liverpool
The British uplands: the importance of long-term experiments inside and outside of ECN

The Environmental Change Network now has a 20-year series of networked observations made concurrently at a range of sites across the United Kingdom. Many of the sites, however, have been monitored in different ways before the start of ECN, indeed ECN was put together from sites with a previous history in environmental monitoring. Whilst the measurement of ongoing change in species and environment is very important to detect change and has its own set of issues associated with separating signal form noise, Rob will discuss examples of long-term change within the context of manipulative experiments. In upland Britain there are several of these long-term experimental studies, for example at Moor House and in the Peak District. Rob will discuss some of the problems and some results from the most recent analyses from a range of experiments in upland Britain.

09:20 – 09:40

James Morison, Forest Research
Measuring and managing woodland carbon balances

Quantifying the stock of C in woodlands and understanding the controls on the fluxes of CO2 between forests and the atmosphere are key ecological and environmental  science tasks. They also directly feed into land use policy questions.  This talk will collate information from research and monitoring studies at the Alice Holt ECN woodland site to describe the components of the woodland C balance, including how they vary between years and with time. James will discuss recent results on the effect of local management operations on CO2 fluxes, and will explore the effect of management differences between the managed Alice Holt site and the unmanaged Wytham Wood site. The potential of new methods of monitoring forest C stocks will be illustrated, and other ECN data will be used to assess some of  the effects of land use change to woodland.

09:40 – 10:00

Keynote: Helen Pontier, Defra
Why ECN and other long-term monitoring is important for policymaking (title t.b.c)

10:00 – 10:30

Tea & coffee


10:30 – 11:00


4. Future directions


Mike Morecroft, Natural England
The science and practice of climate change adaptation

There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting UK biodiversity and ecosystems and impacts are expected to increase as the magnitude of climate change increases.  Adapting to climate change is therefore an essential component of conservation and environmental management in the 21st century.  Effective adaptation requires a good evidence base, communicated in a way which will empowers local decision-making. Mike will present key elements of this evidence base, which includes long-term monitoring, research to understand resilience and vulnerability, testing adaptation measures and effective knowledge exchange.

11:00 – 11:20

Francois Edwards, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
The role of ECN in freshwater research: key opportunities

11:20 – 11:40

Sue Rennie, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Developing ECN’s data management and access system

As ECN's Data Centre Manager, Sue has a wealth of experience in managing large environmental datasets and in making such data easily accessible. In her talk, Sue will place particular emphasis on how users can access and discover ECN data - through ECN’s bespoke data products, as well as non-ECN data portals.  She will also look at how ECN is developing its systems to automate data capture, e.g. through sensors; and integrate its data with the wider Long-Term Ecosystem Research community.

11:40 – 12:00

Lunch Posters and demonstrations of ECN data products


12:00 – 13:00


Helen Roy, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Citizen science: what does it mean for ECN?

Citizen science, the involvement of volunteers in "real" science, can be a very useful approach for research and monitoring. There has been a recent increase in the number of citizen science initiatives particularly those involving "mass participation". However, citizen science is not new. Some of the volunteer schemes and societies hosted by the Biological Records Centre, part of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, include wildlife observations spanning centuries. There is considerable potential for citizen science to complement site-based monitoring and research networks such as the ECN. In this talk I will describe the current landscape of citizen science and consider the opportunities for embedding citizen science within the ECN.

13:00 – 13:20

Helen Beadman, UK Environmental Observation Framework
Environmental monitoring challenges: a UKEOF perspective
One of the biggest challenges facing environmental monitoring is the increased pressure on budgets and associated drive for better efficiency in evidence gathering. Helen will look at how this pressure can impact on monitoring programmes, investigate some of the different ways that this challenge could be addressed and future areas to explore. She will use examples from ECN to demonstrate how monitoring programmes successfully develop and evolve to meet changing needs.

13:20 – 13:40

Open discussion
Focussing on the future of ECN and long-term observation and research

13:40 – 14:20

Final remarks

14:20 – 14:30


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