- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Indicators, 68, 63-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.040.