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About ECN

About ECN - its history and organisation
ECN gathers information about the pressures on and responses to environmental change in physical, chemical and biological systems

The Environmental Change Network is the UK’s long-term ecosystem research network. We collect, manage, analyse and interpret environmental data collected at a network of sites across the UK.

When did it all begin?

ECN was launched in 1992 and the collection of data started formally in 1993 at terrestrial sites and 1994 at freshwater sites.

ECN at 20

We have now amassed two decades of data from our longest-running terrestrial ECN sites. We are marking this in 2014 with a symposium on 12-13 May and a special journal issue (due to be published in 2015).


ECN's objectives are to:

  • Establish and maintain a selected network of sites within the UK from which to obtain comparable long-term datasets through the monitoring of a range of variables identified as being of major environmental importance
  • Provide for the integration and analysis of these data, so as to identify natural and human-induced environmental changes and improve understanding of the causes of change
  • Distinguish short-term fluctuations from long-term trends, and predict future changes
  • Provide, for research purposes, a range of representative sites with good instrumentation and reliable environmental information.


ECN gathers information about the pressures on and responses to environmental change in physical, chemical and biological systems.

Who is involved?

ECN is only possible through the combined efforts of many organisations and people. ECN is a multi-agency programme sponsored by a consortium of 14 UK government departments and agencies.  These organisations (our Sponsors) contribute to the programme through funding either site monitoring and/or network co-ordination activities. The network is coordinated by staff at the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. They manage the data, which are stored in a central database and are available through a variety of data access methods. ECN is also supported by several Research Partners.


Contact ECN

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ECN Central Coordination Unit
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Lancaster Environment Centre

Tel: +44 (0)1524 595800
Fax: +44 (0) 1524 61536