Moor House and Trout Beck

ECN: a network of sites

ECN is a network of intensively studied sites across the United Kingdom, at which repeated measurements of physical, chemical and biological components of each ecosystem are repeatedly made.

We have been studying our earliest sites since the early 1990s.

In this section...

ECN terrestrial sites

There are 11 active terrestrial sites, ranging from upland to lowland and covering a wide range of habitats including semi-natural grassland, woodland, moorland, peatland and arable cropland. They form the main component of ECN. These sites are operated by a subset of ECN consortium partners. Each site has a dedicated and highly knowledgeable Site Manager whose duties include carrying out the ECN protocols and submitting the data to the ECN central database.

Terrestrial sites

ECN freshwater sites

The freshwater component of ECN comprises both lakes and rivers/streams. Data from the majority of these sites are collected by the environment agencies in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales as part of their statutory duty to monitor water bodies under the Water Framework Directive. The remaining sites are operated by a range of ECN partners. Several of the sites are Upland Waters Monitoring Network sites. Until 2012, ECN received data from these freshwater sites. Whilst this is no longer the case, data are, to our knowledge, still routinely collected at these sites by the organisations indicated.

Lake sites
River sites

ECN sites: Great places for research & teaching

The wide range of environmental measurements, wealth of historical data and local knowledge of site managers mean that many ECN sites are excellent locations for field environmental research and teaching. An increasing number of scientists have discovered the benefits of locating their research at our sites. If you are also interested in conducting research at an ECN site, please contact us. From time-to-time there are opportunities for people outside the UK to visit selected ECN sites as part of EU-funded projects.

Student at ECN Wytham. Photo copyright UKCEH
Are you interested in conducting research or field teaching at an ECN site?

Overview map

To learn more about sites in the ECN network, select a site from the lists on this website (terrestrial, lakes, rivers)  or locate it on the map.

Google map control panel icon  To filter the displayed sites, open the side menu panel.

Green map pinECN Terrestrial 
Blue dot map pinECN Freshwater


Co-location of monitoring operations is important for providing added value to datasets, and is also financially and operationally more efficient. Four of the ECN terrestrial sites are co-located with ECN stream sites, whilst many of ECN terrestrial sites are equipped with soil moisture monitoring arrays operated by the COSMOS-UK network and several lakes have automatic lake monitoring stations installed as part of the UKLEON project. Furthermore, four ECN sites host Long-Term Experiments (LTEs) supported by the Ecological Continuity Trust.

Learn more about how ECN sites contribute to monitoring by other networks.

Related networks and sites

You may be interested in these other long-term environmental observation networks and sites that have links to ECN: