Celebrating two decades of ECN data

To mark the 20th anniversary of detailed site-based monitoring at ECN sites, we hosted a symposium in Lancaster and published a special issue in Ecological Indicators to describe the network and its history, to showcase the range of research using ECN data and sites, and to consider future perspectives.
Journal cover
© Elsevier

'Assessing ecosystem resilience through Long Term Ecosystem Research: observations from the first twenty years of the UK Environmental Change Network' was a Special Issue of the journal Ecological Indicators published in 2016 and showcasing a range of research using ECN data and sites.


Sier, A and Monteith, D. (eds). 2016. Assessing ecosystem resilience through Long Term Ecosystem Research: observations from the first twenty years of the UK Environmental Change Network. Ecological Indicators 68, 1-156.

View Sier & Monteith (2016) online


Following our successful symposium, we invited speakers, ECN site managers and scientists with a track record of research at ECN sites to showcase their ECN-related research in this Special Issue, edited by Andrew Sier and Don Monteith. The Special Issue comprised the 15 papers listed below.

You can also explore summaries of the key points made in the special issue papers.

  1. Sier, A. and Monteith, D. (2016). The UK Environmental Change Network after twenty years of integrated ecosystem assessment: Key findings and future perspectives. Ecological Indicators68, 1-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.02.008.
  2. Rennie, S. (2016). Providing information on environmental change: Data management, discovery and access in the UK Environmental Change Network Data Centre. Ecological Indicators68, 13-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.01.060.
  3. Monteith, D., et al. (2016). Trends and variability in weather and atmospheric deposition at UK Environmental Change Network sites (1993-2012). Ecological Indicators68, 21-35. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.01.061.
  4. Sawicka, K., et al. (2016). Fine-scale temporal characterization of trends in soil water dissolved organic carbon and potential drivers. Ecological Indicators68, 36-51. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.12.028. | FEATURE: WHY THIS RESEARCH MATTERS
  5. Rose, R., et al. (2016). Evidence for increases in vegetation species richness across the UK Environmental Change Network sites linked to changes in air pollution and weather patterns. Ecological Indicators68, 52-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.01.005. | FEATURE: WHY THIS RESEARCH MATTERS
  6. Morecroft, MD., et al. (2016). Interannual variability, stability and resilience in UK plant communities. Ecological Indicators68, 63-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.040.
  7. Pallett, DW., Pescott, OL. and Schafer, SM. (2016). Changes in plant species richness and productivity in response to decreased nitrogen inputs in grassland in southern England. Ecological Indicators68, 73-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.12.024.
  8. Eyre, MD., McMillan, SD. and Critchley, CNR. (2016). Ground beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) as indicators of change and pattern in the agroecosystem: Longer surveys improve understanding. Ecological Indicators68, 82-88. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.009.
  9. Milligan, G., Rose, RJ. and Marrs, RH. (2016). Winners and losers in a long-term study of vegetation change at Moor House NNR: Effects of sheep-grazing and its removal on British upland vegetation. Ecological Indicators68, 89-101. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.10.053.
  10. Moody, CS., Worrall, F. and Burt, TP. (2016). Identifying DOC gains and losses during a 20-year record in the Trout Beck catchment, Moor House, UK. Ecological Indicators68, 102-114. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.033.
  11. Dick, J., et al. (2016). Analysis of temporal change in delivery of ecosystem services over 20 years at long term monitoring sites of the UK Environmental Change Network. Ecological Indicators68, 115-125. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.02.021.
  12. Martay, B., et al. (2016). An indicator highlights seasonal variation in the response of Lepidoptera communities to warming. Ecological Indicators68, 126-133. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.01.057.
  13. Pozsgai, G., et al. (2016). Interspecific networks in ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages.Ecological Indicators68, 134-141. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.031.
  14. Elliott, JA., et al. (2016). The past and future of phytoplankton in the UK's largest lake, Lough Neagh. Ecological Indicators68, 142-149. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.07.015.
  15. Baxendale, CL., et al. (2016). Can digital image classification be used as a standardised method for surveying peatland vegetation cover?. Ecological Indicators68, 150-156. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.035.


"In its first two decades of operation the ECN has accumulated a robust set of baseline data that describe environmental and biological variability across a range of habitats in unprecedented detail. With appropriate, informed development, these should prove invaluable in discerning the causes and consequences of environmental change for decades to come." - Sier & Monteith, 2016

Celebrating 20 years of ECN data

The UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) was established in 1992 in response to calls for more long-term, quantitative information about the state of the environment and how it was changing. The network’s terrestrial component comprises 11 active sites ranging from lowland farms and woodlands to upland moors and mountains. Since 1994, ECN has also collated data from a network of lakesrivers and streams.

To mark the 20th anniversary of detailed site-based monitoring, we undertook a series of activities in addition to this special issue, including a symposium, the release of 20-year ECN datasets, available from the CEH Environmental Information Platform, a UKCEH blog, ‘Behind the scenes at the UK's Environmental Change Network’ and an article in NERC’s Planet Earth magazine: ‘Taking the environment’s pulse’.

Field visit to Sourhope
Site managers and Central Coordination Unit staff on a visit to Sourhope in 2003