BES Forest Ecology Group

A British Ecological Society Special Interest Group

BES Meeting @ Wytham Village Hall: Long term experiments and observations – supporting their survival

Date: October 27th 2018

Keith Kirby writes:

“While there is widespread recognition of the value of long-term studies the nature of UK research funding (both from research councils and institutes and agencies) makes it difficult to secure the ‘long-thin’ support needed to maintain these experiments and observations. Frequently there is, at any one time, one key person who keeps a particularly show on the road. This meeting is an opportunity for such people to meet and share experiences. Many of the outputs from these studies end up as publications in the BES Journals and we believe that the BES is uniquely placed to be support the meeting.

The nature of ecological systems is such that a 5,10, 50 years may be needed to detect change and responses either in experimental or observational studies. This is beyond the typical funding available through research councils and the like. Others have made this point and although it is particularly pertinent to woodland studies it is not confined to them. Various grassland studies have been maintained over decades, largely on a wing and a prayer. This meeting is not expected to come up with a simple answer as to how to keep such studies going – if there was one others would have found it by now! Rather we see this as an opportunity to exchange ideas that have worked in particular circumstances (or those that did not!) and to celebrate the unique insights that these studies can offer.”

Held at Wytham Village Hall, coffees, lunch and afternoon tea provided

Cost: £5 BES Members; £10 non-BES members

Further info:

Booking via:

Venue – Wytham Village Hall, Wytham, Oxford OX2 8QA. This is in Wytham Village which is about 5 miles from Oxford Railway Station.

There is no public transport to Wytham, but if people are coming by train we will explore whether it is possible to arrange pick-up and drop-off at the station.

For car drivers coming from the north, note that there is no direct access to Wytham village from the A34 southbound carriageway. There is a turn-off from the northbound carriageway marked by the arrow on the accompanying map.

Any queries to Keith Kirby (; 0755 728 2711)

Draft Programme:

9.30 Registration and coffee

10.00 Introduction to the day, domestics etc.

10.30 George Peterken. Long-term observations – woodland experiences (33 mins plus 10 mins questions): examples of what has been learnt, strengths and weaknesses of approach, challenges of maintaining the systems and the recording; lessons for future.

11.15 Jonathan Silvertown. Long-term experiments – grassland experiences. (33 mins plus 10 mins questions): examples of what has been learnt, strengths and weaknesses of approach, challenges of maintaining the systems and the recording; lessons for future.

12.00 Questions and discussion

12.30 Lunch

13.15 Move up to Wytham Hill

13.30 -16.00 Walk round with at least four 15 minute stops to cover (provisionally):

Long-term nest box recording

Upper Seeds Grassland experiment/RAINDROP

ECN work

Dawkins vegetation plots

Building a research Archive

16.00 Meeting closes/disperse


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This entry was posted on August 2, 2018 by in Uncategorized.

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