There are a huge number of historical datasets containing information on semi-natural vegetation gathered from across the United Kingdom’s bioclimatic regions.
These data could provide a valuable opportunity to look at historical vegetation changes in the context of climate change and other environmental drivers. However, the lack of standardisation in the way these data were gathered makes meta-analysis and comparison difficult.
This report results from research commissioned by Natural England in order to investigate the utility of frequency-area curves in standardising vegetation datasets collected using different quadrat sizes. It examines one potential method of standardisation and points the way to possible solutions to the problem.
This research now needs to be reviewed in the context of:
- Analyzing large and varied vegetation data sets.
- Assessing the usefulness of the method against other more standard methods.
If problems inherent in the analytical method can be resolved, it may prove to be a powerful tool for detecting small scale or short-term vegetation changes, for example, in response to long-term climate change.