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You are here: Home / What we do / Science / Key messages from the 'ECN at 20' Special Issue of Ecological Indicators, 2016 / Morecroft, MD., et al. Interannual variability, stability and resilience in UK plant communities

Morecroft, MD., et al. Interannual variability, stability and resilience in UK plant communities

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The ECN vegetation collected at particularly high frequency also enabled the resilience of vegetation to be assessed ... plant communities associated with low levels of disturbance and low agricultural inputs were the most stable
Vegetation surveying, Wytham (photo: CEH)
  1. The ECN vegetation data collected at particularly high frequency also enabled the resilience of vegetation to be assessed, by investigating year-to-year variation in plant communities. This challenged the commonly-held assumption that plant communities change relatively little from one year to the next.
  2. The extent of variability was dependent on habitat type. Plant communities associated with low levels of disturbance and low agricultural inputs were the most stable, and therefore – it is suggested - more likely to be resilient to gradual environmental changes.
  3. The authors conclude that plant monitoring scheme design needs to take into account the extent of inter-annual variability, in order to correctly identify longer-term trends.

 

Reference: Morecroft, MD., Bealey, CE., Scott, WA. and Taylor, ME. (2016). Interannual variability, stability and resilience in UK plant communities. Ecological Indicators68, 63-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.040.

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