What we do
Monitoring, data and research to detect and interpret environmental change
We are the UK's long-term environmental monitoring programme. We collect, analyse and interpret long-term data from a network of sites. Our physical, chemical and biological data are a unique national resource that is improving our understanding of how and why environments change.
Site-based monitoring and research
Since 1992, the Environmental Change Network has operated sites across the UK at which staff of our sponsoring organisations make a wide range of environmental measurements. Data are sent to the ECN Data Centre, where they are checked and added to the ECN Database and made freely available for research, education and other non-commercial purposes.
ECN is yielding long duration (≈20 years) datasets
Site-based research is conducted at several ECN sites by our sponsors and by other research institutes and universities. Normally more short-term in nature, these studies are enhanced by the availability of the longer-term ECN datasets.
Why the research matters
From data to knowledge
Researchers who use ECN data and site resources routinely publish their findings in the scientific literature. In addition, ECN has begun to produce publications which aim to disseminate our current understanding of environmental change to policymakers and the wider public. The provision of this ‘evidence for policy’ is becoming increasingly possible now that the network is yielding long duration (around 20 years) datasets.
Working in partnership
ECN is a partnership: in addition to those organisations that sponsor site-based monitoring, we work with a wide range of other research partners as well as taking a lead role in the development of long-term ecosystem research (LTER). ECN is the UK node of the International Long-Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER) and its European regional network, LTER-Europe. ECN is also represented in several key networks, including the European biodiversity research network, ALTER-Net, the Arctic INTERACT network and the European ExpeER project. We are helping to develop key aspects of LTER, such as integration of data, multi-site experiments and improved sharing of research facilities.
Did you know?
UK ECN has been used as a model for the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative's Environmental Change Network.