Glensaugh - United Kingdom

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United Kingdom

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General Site Description: 

UK ECN site. Glensaugh is one of two terrestrial ECN sites currently managed by the James Hutton Institute. Glensaugh Research station is 35 miles south west of Aberdeen, NE Scotland (NGR NO 671783), on the edge of the Grampian hills and covers over 1100 hectares. The dominant cover is semi-natural vegetation, and there is a small amount of woodland (5ha) and some short term and permanent grassland (150ha). Much of the ECN monitoring is carried out towards the northern boundary of the research station in the small upland catchment of the Birnie Burn. Winters can be severe and snow may lie in patches until late March. The target sampling site is located at an altitude of 300m on heather dominated (Calluna vulgaris) moorland interspersed with patches of blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). It has a westerly aspect and straight slopes of up to 20 degrees. The soil is predominantly freely draining humus iron podzol of the Strichen Series. The water chemistry sampling point, flume and in-stream measurements are made on the Birnie Burn at an altitude of 240m. The catchment area above the sampling point is around 100ha. Precipitation and atmospheric chemistry samples are collected adjacent to the stream at a similar altitude.

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General Characteristics, Purpose, History

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Size : 

1 125.00ha

Purpose of Site : 

Upland research and monitoring is carried out on a working farm. The main enterprises are sheep, beef cattle and deer with some shooting and fishing opportunities. The types of land use and management carried out at Glensaugh are representative of those undertaken across large areas of upland Scotland. Monitoring of environmental variables such as climatic conditions, soil, flora and fauna over a long time frame (decadal) enable cause and effect relationships to be investigated and help to gather evidence with which to test predictive models of, for example acid deposition, climate change impacts and biodiversity change.

History of Site: 

Glensaugh has been an experimental farm since 1943. As a fully operational and commercial hill farm, it still continues to support the existing research program. Commercial livestock farming (sheep, cattle, deer) is facilitated by extensive grazing. In recent years both stocking density and the the requirement for additional inputs has been reduced in line with the national trend. Agroforestry plots were established in 1988 and have been managed in a variety of ways over subsequent years. Currently a silvo-pastoral system which allows sheep to roam through the trees is in operation. During the last 10 years there has been an increased focus on long term sustainability of the farm and the installation of a wind turbine, restoration of private water supply, and construction of a biomass boiler have all helped to reduce the environmental impact of the business. Woodland planting has improved biodiversity, provides shelter belts and will create a potential fuel source.

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Latitude: 56.900000000000
Longitude: -2.550000000000