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Long Term Monitoring Network Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve

Client: Natural England
Duration: July 2014
Areas of survey: Malham Tarn NNR
Project manager: Gordon Haycock
Outputs: Training of 50 volunteers in bryophyte identification and 4 days as 'roving expert' undertaking bryophyte identification

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. In order to ensure complete and robust data, volunteers undertaking survey are given training and support throughout the survey process by more experienced botanists and specialists.

Gordon Haycock training at Malham Tarn

As Malham Tarn NNR is largely defined by bogs and mires, accurate identification of bryophytes is crucial and Gordon was invited to lead training on the first day and then support surveyors as a 'roving specialist' throughout the three day survey.

We were blessed with glorious weather, and overall volunteers had a great time undertaking some really worthwhile recording activity. Altogether we there were over 50 participants from Natural England, National Trust, Field Studies Council, Wharfedale Naturalists and others. Despite the scorching sunshine and challenge of identifying a wide spectrum of vascular plants, over 50 quadrats were completed with over 50 species in the most diverse quadrat. The species-richness of the site was enhanced as quadrats were undertaken on Tarn Moss, Ha Mire and limestone pavement allowing survey of acidic raised bog, calcareous mire and saxicolous bryophytes on limestone.

Christoph Kratz (Senior Adviser in Natural England's Integrated Monitoring & Reporting Team) organised the survey and commented "In particular, I think this survey was marked out by the level of recording we managed to achieve for bryophytes. I'm extremely grateful to Gordon Haycock for supporting this aspect of the event, and for training participants so well." He also praised Robin Sutton of Field Studies Council Malham and in particular Peter Welsh of National Trust who manage most of the NNR.

Overall the event was highly enjoyable and a good experience for participants and hopefully a springboard to continuing interest in bryology!