Mapping for climate change

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Transcript Mapping for climate change

© Amy Rogers
© Amy Rogers
© Amy Rogers
© Carl Corbidge
Heathland field trip
Mapping for Climate Change
Welcome to site name!
What are you going to do today?
• You will be spending today acting as an
environmental scientist.
• You will try some ecological surveys
techniques to determine the health of a
very rare habitat; lowland heathland.
• You will use GPS
conservation area.
• Your results could help
management of site name.
• Explain what a heathland is and why they are threatened;
• Use a GPS to mark locations and map areas;
• Use a quadrat to sample vegetation;
• Explain why corridors linking habitats are really important;
• Discuss the factors we need to think about when deciding
where to put a habitat corridor.
• Found at elevations of less than 300 m
above sea-level.
• Open habitat with few trees.
• Dominated by dwarf shrubs, particularly
• Have sandy, acidic, low-nutrient soils.
© Lauren Gough
What is lowland heathland?
How did heathland form?
• Historical clearance of woodland for grazing and agriculture.
• When the nutrients in the soil were depleted the farmers
cultivated new areas.
• Heathland established on the abandoned areas.
7,000 years ago
Lowland Britain forested.
6,000 – 4,000 years ago
Woodland cleared for farming.
4,000 years ago
Heathland formed.
What lives there?
© Carl Corbidge
Contains over 500
Most important
species ofhabitat
the UK for reptiles
Four bird species associated primarily with this habitat.
Three are on the Red List!
Heathland is a very rare habitat
• Since 1800 the UK has lost over 80%
of it’s lowland heathland.
• Heathland
• The UK still has 20% of the world’s
total amount!
What is threatening heathland?
• Damage from inappropriate use (e.g. dirt bike riders)
• Nitrogen pollution
• Loss due to fire and building houses = habitat fragmentation
What is habitat fragmentation?
• Habitat fragmentation occurs when a
previously continuous habitat is
broken into discontinuous patches.
Habitat fragmentation and climate change
• Climate change is predicted to affect temperate and the pattern of
• If the climate conditions in an area change too much plants and
animals may need to move to a new area where conditions are
suitable in order to survive.
• Moving between habitat fragments is much harder than moving
through a continuous habitat.
Habitat corridors
• To help reduce the impacts of
habitat fragmentation, habitat
corridors can be built.
• Habitat corridors link habitat
fragments, enabling plants and
animals to move between habitat
habitat corridor
What are you going to do?
9:30am – 10:00am
10:00am – 11:00am
Learning to use a GPS
Activity A: Orienteering with a GPS
11:00am – 12:00 pm Activity B: Vegetation surveying
12:00pm – 12:45 pm Lunch
12:45pm – 2:45pm
Activity C: Mapping an area
Activity D: Locating a habitat corridor
Learning to use a GPS
• Your task – understand how GPS
receivers work and familiarise yourself
with the controls.
Activity A
• Your task – learn how to use a GPS
receiver to save waypoints (the
coordinates of your location).
Activity B
• Your task – using a quadrat sample the vegetation to
investigate how healthy the heathland is.
• Nitrogen pollution can affect the ecology of heathlands.
• Nitrogen deposition favours fast-growing species like
bramble, bracken and grass which can out-compete
heathland plants such as heather and gorse.
• A healthy (i.e., unpolluted) heathland should have an
average percentage cover of heather of at least 25% and
no more than 50% cover of grass.
© Peter Crittenden
Activity B - using quadrats to measure
plant percentage cover
• Place the quadrat over the area of
vegetation to be surveyed.
• Look at the quadrat from directly
• The total area of ground within the
quadrat is 100%.
• For each plant species, estimate the
% area of the quadrat that it covers.
Activity B - using quadrats to measure
plant percentage cover
You need to be consistent in the way you collect the data. In your
group, think about the following questions and decide how you will
collect your data.
The plant is rooted in the quadrat, but all of
its leaves fall outside the quadrat. Do you
include it in your results for this quadrat?
The plant is not rooted in the quadrat, but
some of its leaves fall in the quadrat. Do you
include it in your results for this quadrat?
Activity C
• Your task – Use your GPS receiver to map the extent of a
heathland fragment.
• Display your map on Google Earth.
Activity D
• Your task – decide where it is best to position a habitat corridor
to link two heathland fragments.
• You will need to consider:
• Cost – the longer the corridor is the more money it will cost
to build and maintain it.
• Other habitats – are there any other natural habitats you will
be fragmenting by the construction of your corridor?
• Human land-use – will your corridor require buildings and/or
roads to be removed/relocated?