In 1998, the statutory nature conservation agencies, including English Nature, presented a framework for monitoring on designated sites. The outline framework is published as A Statement on Common Standards in Monitoring. The aim for each site is to maintain it in favourable condition, and condition is assessed on a set of key features of interest for the broad habitats within each site. New guidance on Common Standards Monitoring has been published (Joint Nature Conservation Committee 2004) which now forms the standard approach to monitoring statutorily designated sites.
The results of this regular monitoring against set targets enables management practices on these sites to be appraised and revised if required. Monitoring across a range of sites with similar habitats also allows some determination of the condition of the habitat resource as a whole, feeding into regional and national targets such as those identified within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. This strategic monitoring forms the Validation Network Project, the aims of which are to validate condition monitoring, to establish control sites against which changes in interest features can be assessed, and to contribute to understanding the drivers of change in individual habitat types.
This report presents the results and conclusions of the analyses of data collected for saltmarsh sites within England, undertaken as part of the Validation Network project.