The Long-term Monitoring Network (LTMN) is one of the ways that Natural England will understand the effects of climate change, air pollution and land management on the natural environment.
We need to understand these effects in order to advise others on mitigation or adaptation actions and to allow us to adapt our own interventions and activities.
Long-term datasets are necessary because many of the environmental processes affected are long-term and real change cannot be judged in just a few years. Annual variability in many drivers means that trends are only discernable over many years.
Long-term monitoring provides the baseline against which the future state of the environment can be assessed in a reliable historical context and it allows unanticipated changes to be identified.
This network is building on the work of the Environmental Change Network (ECN) and earlier proposals to develop an Environmental Change Biodiversity Network (ECBN). The Long-term Monitoring Network represents England’s contribution to the UK-wide ECBN.
The integration of different types of data collection across a range of sites is essential to give a high degree of confidence in the results and a high likelihood of being able to detect significant changes.
Climate change and air pollution drivers vary over time and are different in different parts of Britain. The ability to attribute change to the correct cause is important in this context. This requires good, spatially explicit data on each of the potential causes of change in order to better attribute cause to effect.
In order to meet these challenges the Long-term Monitoring Network contains core monitoring sites where an agreed range of data is collected using standard protocols. This means that all sites are collecting data on the same variables in the same way and will allow analysis and reporting from the network as a whole.
Each site collects data on the following:
The pages on protocols and methods (under development) describe how these data are collected.
The data collected through the LTMN project is managed by the ECN Data Centre, run by Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). Data from the project will be publically available through the ECN website where users can view and produce customised data summaries through interactive web pages or request raw data for analysis. LTMN data are currently in the process of being uploaded onto the ECN website.
The network had 27 operational sites in England by the end of 2013, with a further five selected and having baseline surveys being carried out in 2014. We plan on having 40 operational sites by the end of 2015.
Most core sites are on National Nature Reserves and most of these are directly managed by Natural England. In addition, some of our core sites are owned by, and monitored in partnership with other bodies, such as the National Trust, Corporation of London, Wildlife Trusts and the Forestry Commission. The current core sites are listed in the table below. More information about each of these sites can be found on the ECN website – use the interactive map to select a site of interest and view the profile page for each LTMN site.
|Site||County||Site owner / manager||Main habitats (for LTMN)|
|Ainsdale Dunes and Sands||Merseyside||Natural England||Sand dunes|
|East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths||Devon||Natural England||Broadleaved woodland, upland heathland|
|Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses||Shropshire||Natural England / Countryside Council for Wales||Raised bog, fen|
|Stiperstones||Shropshire||Natural England||Upland heathland|
|Lindisfarne||Northumberland||Natural England||Sand dunes, dune grassland|
|Finglandrigg Woods||Cumbria||Natural England||Broadleaved woodland, raised bog, fen|
|Thursley||Surrey||Natural England||Lowland heathland, valley mire, broadleaved woodland|
|Bure Marshes||Norfolk||Natural England||Wet woodland, fen|
|Ingleborough||Yorkshire||Natural England||Upland heathland, blanket bog|
|Derbyshire Dales||Derbyshire||Natural England||Broadleaved woodland, calcareous grassland|
|Burnham Beeches||Buckinghamshire||Corporation of London||Broadleaved woodland/wood pasture, lowland heathland, valley mire|
|Monks Wood||Cambridgeshire||Natural England||Broadleaved woodland|
|Old Winchester Hill||Hampshire||Natural England||Calcareous grassland, broadleaved woodland|
|Martin Down||Hampshire||Natural England||Calcareous grassland|
|North Solent||Hampshire||Natural England||Lowland heathland, neutral grassland, broadleaved woodland|
|Lullington Heath||East Sussex||Natural England||Lowland heathland, calcareous grassland|
|Downton Gorge||Herefordshire||Natural England||Broadleaved woodland|
|Malham Tarn||Yorkshire||National Trust / Field Studies Council||Raised bog, calcareous grassland, broadleaved woodland|
|Epping Forest||London/Essex||Corporation of London||Broadleaved woodland/wood pasture, acid grassland|
|Kielderhead||Northumberland||Forestry Commission / Northumberland Wildlife Trust||Upland heathland, blanket bog|
|Lower Derwent Valley||North Yorkshire||Natural England||Floodplain meadows|
|Saltfleetby and Theddlethorpe Dunes||Lincolnshire||Natural England||Sand dune and saltmarsh|
|Chippenham Fen||Cambridgeshire||Natural England||Reedbed and fen|
|Dersingham Bog||Norfolk||Natural England||Lowland mire and fen|
|The Lizard||Cornwall||Natural England||Lowland heathland|
|Chobham Common||Surrey||Surrey Wildlife Trust||Lowland heathland|
|Ludham Marshes||Norfolk||Natural England||Neutral, wet grassland|
|Woodwalton Fen||Cambridgeshire||Natural England||Fen and woodland|
|Mottey Meadows||Staffordshire||Natural England||Floodplain meadows|
|Wyre Forest||Worcestershire||Natural England and Forestry Commission||Broadleaved woodland|
|Dark Peak (site tbc)||Derbyshire||National Trust||Blanket bog|
|North Walney||Cumbria||Natural England||Sand dune and saltmarsh|
For further information about the Long-term Monitoring Network, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.