Data collection

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The sites are now managed on a care and maintenance basis. The measurements detailed below are no longer collected routinely. They could, however, be re-commenced in the future to record productivity and environmental impacts.

Routine measurements made in all years at all sites on individual plots:

  • Sward height (measured weekly and used to maintain a predetermined sward-height profile through control of grazing pressure by adjusting animal numbers);
  • Animal numbers (weekly);
  • Animal live weights (monthly - ewes (and lambs in season));
  • Animal body condition scores (monthly - ewes);
  • Tree height (annually on a core group of 25 trees (5 x 5 block));
  • Tree stem diameter (annually on core group - measured at 20cm above root collar until diameter at breast height (dbh 1.3m) is measureable);
  • General site meteorological data - logged from an automatic weather station (not individual plot-based).

Measurements made in some years at some sites (frequency of measurement reflects expected rates of change over time in measured parameters):

Direct measurement of pasture production:

  • Quadrat sampling inside grazing exclosure cages (spatially stratified with respect to trees);

Tree root structure (using a logarithmic spiral trench):

  • Spatially defined root distribution;
  • Spatially defined individual root size (diameter).

Meteorological measurements:

  • Light (PAR) transmitted to ground level (stratified spatial sampling on a 3 x 3 grid bounded by four trees);
  • Tree canopy dimensions (to relate to PAR transmitted);
  • 100mm soil temperature (stratified spatial sampling as for PAR);
  • Wind speed (sampled vertically and spatially).

Environmental measurements:

  • Pasture botanical composition (linear transects);
  • Soil moisture (sampled at a range of distances from trees);
  • Ground insects (pitfall trapping, spatially stratified);
  • Birds (observation of birds on plots and in trees, during spring and autumn migratory seasons).

Animal behaviour, scan sampling is used to monitor:

  • Animal activity (grazing, ruminating, resting etc.);
  • Animal location (distance to nearest tree and nearest neighbour);
  • Basic weather details (windy/calm; wind direction; rain/dry);

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