Wytham - United Kingdom
Wytham is 5 km north west of Oxford and consists of mixed woodland, mainly deciduous, and organic mixed farmland. Roughly a third of the wooded area is ancient woodland which, to our knowledge, has never been cleared and there has been continuity of tree cover since the prehistoric 'wild wood'. It has however had a long history of management, which for many hundreds of years took the form of coppicing. Within the woodland there are patches of semi-natural grassland, of both ancient and recent origin, and scrub.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The UK ECN site at Wytham was established in 1992 with the aim of studying the impacts of climate change on ecological systems and to compare the findings with those from other sites around the UK. Our research slots into 75 years of scientific research and long term monitoring projects set up since the woods were gifted to Oxford University in 1942. Notable events include the start of the tit population monitoring project in 1947, small mammal monitoring in 1962, grassland restoration project in 1984 and long term badger monitoring in1987. In 2006 the canopy flux tower was established, facilitating studies on canopy interactions.
Oxford University has owned the Estate since 1943 and many pioneering studies in ecology have been carried out. Long-term records exist on many topics, in particular on birds, small mammals, and badgers. Nearby, the Radcliffe Meteorological Station in Oxford possesses the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. Wytham was a flagship site for NERC's Terrestrial Initiative in Global Environmental Research (TIGER) programme. ECN terrestrial monitoring has been carried out at Wytham since 1992, with additional research done on the impacts of drought on grasslands and woodland vegetation and stream water chemistry, canopy tree ecophysiology, forest microclimates, and the impacts of deer on woodland vegetation.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information