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The first Welsh SoNaRR report, published in 2016, summarised state, condition and trends of natural resources across eight ecosystems: Mountains, moors and heaths; semi-natural grassland; enclosed farmland; woodland; freshwater; urban environments; coastal margins and marine. It also covered evidence gaps, resilience, sustainability and long-term social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being. An update, SoNaRR-2020, is to be published in 2020.

The Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (GMEP) was at the forefront of the ecosystem approach to monitoring the impact of Pillar II agricultural payment schemes across the EU. GMEP also recruited a large sample of counterfactual “wider Wales” sites to enable additional all-Wales reporting. Thanks to continuity between GMEP and the GB-wide UKCEH Countryside Survey (CS), it is already possible to produce trends in soil properties and vegetation condition across Wales up to 2016. Such trends, in some cases extending back to 1978, are presented in the GMEP final report to the Welsh Government as well as ERAMMP Report-20: Re-Analysis of Data for SoNaRR.

To facilitate the use of GMEP data in SoNaRR-2020 and beyond, ERAMMP has done a new analysis of national monitoring data. ERAMMP Report-30: Analysis of National Monitoring Data in Wales for the State of Natural Resources Report 2020 presents new analyses of national monitoring data collected under CS and GMEP. These analyses have been co-developed with NRW SoNaRR technical leads in order to maximise their accessibility and relevance to SoNaRR themes. Report-30 includes:

  • cross-cutting analyses of soil properties and pollinator abundance
  • tailored analyses of vegetation condition, species richness and other data
  • new analysis of the extent of broad and priority habitats
  • additional reporting on hedgerows; trend in ground flora species richness, the trend in condition of woody diversity plots, trends in hedgerow widths and the extent of woody linear features

ERAMMP will be revisiting many of the original 300 GMEP survey locations to take repeat measurements of most aspects of the GMEP survey. This will capitalise on the abundant baseline information provided by GMEP and determine recent trends in the environment across Wales. Going forward this data will inform future SoNaRR updates as a complement to data from other monitoring efforts.

Key findings from Report-30:

 

Semi-Natural Grassland

Increasing: Species richness of positive indicator flora on acid grassland since 2007.

Could improve: 20% of vegetation plots in Wales are on neutral grassland, but only <1% are on semi-natural neutral grassland.

Decreasing: Topsoil carbon declined in the uplands since 2007. This includes acid grassland.

Rpt-30; Figure 1.2: Richness of positive indicator species in vegetation plots in broadleaved woodland from 1990-2016. Blue dots represent estimates from a linear mixed-effect model, including year as a fixed effect. The light blue area above and below each estimate represents 95% confidence intervals. Data from 1990-2007 are from Countryside Survey; data from 2016 are from the Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme

Woodland

Increasing: Richness of ancient woodland indicator species in broadleaved woodlands.

Rpt-30; Figure 7.1.1: Richness of positive indicator species in vegetation plots in broadleaved woodland from 1990-2016. Blue dots represent estimates from a linear mixed-effect model, including year as a fixed effect. The light blue area above and below each estimate represents 95% confidence intervals. Data from 1990-2007 are from Countryside Survey; data from 2016 are from the Glastir Monitoring and Evaluation Programme]

Enclosed Farmland

Increasing: Species-richness of ground flora along hedgerows.

Decreasing: Soil phosphorus and bulk density on improved grassland, indicating an improvement in soil health.

Could improve: 74-90% of farmed grassland fields contain no trees.

Stable: Length of woody linear features in Wales’ wider countryside.

Rpt-30; Figure 1.3: Length of woody linear features in Wales over time. WUS=Woody Unnatural Shape (e.g. trimmed hedge). WNS=Woody Natural Shape

 

 

Mountain, Moor & Heath

Increasing: Overall plant species-richness on heath habitat.

Increasing: Species richness of positive indicator flora on bog.

Decreasing: Recent topsoil carbon declines in the uplands include MMH.

Rpt-30; Figure 1.5: Species richness, excluding negative indicators, of heath over time

Pollinators

Marshy grassland supports high butterfly and bumblebee counts, Woodlands also support high numbers of many pollinator groups but in Mountain, Moor & Heath pollinator counts are low, except for bumblebees on heath.

Rpt-30; Figure 1.1: Bumblebee density estimates across broad habitat types. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals

 

 

Results presented in this report are the product of ongoing monitoring and data analysis efforts across UKCEH, NRW and the Welsh Government; the goal is to facilitate use of data and findings from the Welsh Government’s national monitoring programmes in SoNaRR, both now and into the future. The ERAMMP on-going field-survey will provide further evidence on state and trends in natural resources in Wales’ wider countryside.

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The full report (as a PDF) is available here (and its technical annex here) and the complete series of ERAMMP outputs can be found on the Project Resources Page here.

How to cite:

Alison, J., Maskell, L.C., Smart, S.M., Feeney, C., Henrys, P.A., Botham, M., Robinson, D.A. & Emmett, B.A. (2020). Environment and Rural Affairs Monitoring & Modelling Programme (ERAMMP). ERAMMP Report-30: Analysis of National Monitoring Data in Wales for the State of Natural Resources Report 2020. Report to Welsh Government (Contract C210/2016/2017)(UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Project 06297)

Alison, J., Maskell, L.C., Smart, S.M., Feeney, C., Henrys, P.A., Botham, M., Robinson, D.A. & Emmett, B.A.(2020).Environment and Rural Affairs Monitoring & Modelling Programme (ERAMMP). ERAMMP Report-30TA1: Analysis of National Monitoring Data in Wales for the State of Natural Resources Report 2020 – Technical Annexes. Report to Welsh Government (Contract C210/2016/2017)(UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Project 06297)