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Alice Holt Forest is one of twelve sites, which currently make up the ECN terrestrial network and which operates to a uniform system of long term data collection of core measurements:
Automatic measurements are all recorded at 5 second intervals and stored as hourly summaries. Manual measurements are made in accordance with standard Meteorological Office procedures.
Measurements are taken weekly:
Baseline survey at 1:100000
Core sampling for major elements (five yearly):
Benham, S.E., Vanguelova, E. I. and Pitman, R.M. (2012). Short and long term changes in carbon, nitrogen and acidity in the forest soils under oak at the Alice Holt Environmental Change Network site. Science of the Total Environment. 421-422.
Soil solution samples are collected using twelve Prenart ‘super quartz’ soil water samplers. Six samplers are installed in the A horizon and six at the base of the B horizon. Each sample is analyzed for:
300 systematical chosen plots (2m x 2m) covering the whole site. Species presence recorded then related to National Vegetation Classification (NVC).
50 randomly chosen plots from the original baseline survey:
50 plots located randomly within the NVC identified by the base line survey:
Butterflies are biologically suitable as indicator species, having rapid lifecycles and, in many cases, high sensitivity to environmental conditions allow us to assess the impacts of climate change.
The UK butterfly monitoring scheme transect method, involves weekly butterfly counts along fixed routes throughout the season. These species counts generate annual site abundance indices.
Results are split over two graphs for clarity.
Ground Beetles (Carabidae) can be used to demonstrate changes in prey invertebrates. At Alice Holt the majority of beetles found are Abax parallelepipedus and Pterostichus madidus. Although variable year on year their populations have remained relatively stable. Species associated with dead wood and damp conditions (Cychrus caraboides, Nebrai brevicollis) have increased significantly most likely due to increases in litter accumulation (evident from the soil survey) dead wood, and shade associated with natural stand ageing.
Bird populations are recognised as a reliable indicator of the general environment. In general populations at Alice Holt are decreasing. Predations of eggs by increasing squirrel populations and the removal of the shrub layer by grazing deer have a negative effect whilst milder winters increase survival chances.
Nine species of UK bat are known to use the site, the most common species being the common pipistrelle whose numbers show an increasing trend over time.
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