Site location and background
The Clocaenog site is situated in NE Wales in the UK (56°23’N 10°57’W) just outside the Snowdonia National Park. The site is an upland heathland, dominated by the shrub Calluna vulgaris. The Clocaenog site is which is valued primarily for its conservation value but which appears under threat due to invasion by grasses and bracken. Other species present include the shrubs Vaccinium myrtilus and Empetrum nigram, the vegetation also has a rich moss and lichen under-story. The site has a very high rainfall, on average 1550 mm each year, low annual temperature is 8.2 °C.
Because of high rainfall and low temperature, the ecosystem holds large pools of C, along with similar habitats across the uplands of the UK and NW Europe. As the Clocaenog site is at the extreme end of the precipitation and temperature gradients covered by the INCREASE network; used in combination with studies at the other INCREASE sites will allow a full gradient approach to any study.
Climate change manipulations
The climate change manipulations at Clocaenog are warming and repeated summer drought. We use automated roof technology to produce the manipulations. The experimental installations comprise three control, three drought and three warming roofs.
The warming treatment raises temperatures on average by 0.7 °C. Although this is a relatively subtle increase, the number of growing degree days in the warming plots is increased by 111% compared to control. The drought treatment operates May-Sept annually, reducing summer rainfall (Jun-Sept) by 69%.
Research activities and research ideas
The following data is collected routinely at the site, and in most cases we also have a 10 year back-catalogue available: climate data, soil water quality measurements, soil gaseous flux measurements, soil N transformation measurements, litter decomposition, vegetation production, nutrient status and composition changes. This provides a unique record of the inter-annual variation in services this heathland provides with respect to biodiversity, water quality regulation and carbon storage.
During the lifespan of the INCREASE project, we will continue to carry out research at the site under additional funding sources. Our new investigations will include soil C dynamics, root turnover and the impact of microbial composition. We welcome collaborators in these fields and new areas.
Other facilities offered
We can also offer access to another large scale manipulation experiment in the Peak District, England (UK). The “Recovery roof experiment” has additional treatments as well as climate change manipulations, making the experiment one of the few field sites that considers multiple drivers of change. The additional treatments include a ‘pristine’ treatment, where we maintain moisture conditions at optimum levels and strip out all forms of N and S pollution from rainfall. We also have a treatment that maintains optimum moisture conditions using ambient rainfall. The same team and level of support is offered for the Recovery roof experiment as at Clocaenog.
The on-site team
The on-site team for Clocaenog includes Prof Bridget Emmett, Prof Davey Jones, Prof Doug Godbold as well as a number of researchers and PhD students within CEH Bangor and the University of Wales, Bangor. On-site engineering support is also offered within the INCREASE project.
For more information
Please, contact Alwyn Sowerby - email CEH Bangor, ECW, Deiniol Road, Bangor, N. Wales, UK, LL57 2UW.
Please go to the website http://www.ceh-climatechange-experiments.eu for more information.