Major datasets and facilities
Major datasets and facilities hosted by CEH
Knowledge of the geographical distribution of species underpins much ecological research and wildlife conservation. The Biological Records Centre (BRC), jointly funded by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, is playing a leading role in the development of the National Biodiversity Network. BRC collates records of species location, habitat, etc, creating a unique resource of spatially and temporally referenced data. Included among the data collected by the BRC since 1964 are a database of over 12 million records from Britain and Ireland; on-going surveys of 16,000 species and published distribution maps and atlases of 12,000 species.
Download the dataset from the BIOPRESS project, the main aim of which was to determine historical changes (1950 – 1990 – 2000) in land cover across Europe for the purpose of measuring changes in habitats and their biodiversity.
CEH has produced a number of data dictionaries covering a wide range of subjects. They are currently held at different CEH sites. Some are already available on the web, but it is hoped that gradually they will become accessible through this site. Data dictionaries that are currently available include:
The CORINE Land Cover (CLC) Map of Great Britain is a pan-European product showing 44 land cover types at a minimum mappable unit of 25 ha and a minimum feature width of 100 m (for linear features). The CLC map is provided in vector format and is designed specifically to be viewed and used at a 1:100,000 scale. The UK contribution to the CLC1990 and CLC2000 products were based on the generalisation of Land Cover Map of Great Britain and the Land Cover Map 2000.
CEH manages the data resulting from the Countryside Survey 2007 (CS2007). This major survey undertaken in 1998 updates information on the habitats, plants, landscape features and land types of Great Britain, and repeats and extends surveys carried out over the past 20 years. All these data will be made available in a variety of forms to users with many interests and abilities. More information is available from the Countryside Survey website.
CEH hosts an interactive list of aquatic plants and associated organisms found in European freshwaters. The list is meant for researchers into ecology of macrophytes (plants and other large photosynthetic organisms) in lakes and rivers across Europe.
The Land Cover Map for 2007 (LCM2007) builds upon the successes of LCM2000 and employs similar but enhanced classification techniques. The principal difference between LCM2007 and LCM2000 is the source of land cover objects. LCM2007 objects come from generalised digital cartography, refined with image segments. Deriving objects from digital cartography is advantageous. Cartographic boundaries very accurately delineate real-world land cover objects (e.g. lakes, fields, settlements, industrial areas, semi-natural areas etc.) and this improves the spatial accuracy of LCM2007 over LCM2000. Moreover, the accurate delineation of real-world objects helps to clarify the spectral properties of the land surface and therefore improves thematic accuracy, too.
The Land Cover Map for 2000 (LCM2000) is the second map in the series and includes Northern Ireland. The production of LCM2000 used object based image analysis (OBIA) techniques. Instead of representing the land surface as regular sized pixels, OBIA considers the land surface as a collection of discrete irregular objects such as forests, lakes, urban areas and fields. Land cover objects for LCM2000 were derived from image segments and were assigned land cover values according to the pixel distributions within. These classifications were then refined using contextual and ancillary information.
The first digital land cover map for Great Britain derived from satellite imagery is the Land Cover Map of Great Britain 1990 (LCM1990). This is a 25m x 25m pixel land cover product describing land cover in 1990. It was produced by automated classification techniques where each pixel is assigned to a land cover class based upon its spectral characteristics.
The National River Flow Archive and the National Groundwater Level Archive form the core of the National Water Archive (NWA). A broad range of hydrological - and related - data are being assimilated into the coordinated management the NWA provides. NWA staff maintain close contacts with measuring authorities and keep developments under review in the fields of network design, instrumentation and information technology. Continuing dialogue with data suppliers and end-users ensures that the databases and retrieval facilities are reviewed continuously to provide an effective and responsive service across a wide range of applications.
The NERC Environmental Bioinformatics Centre, established in 2002, is a bioinformatics and data management centre focused on the handling and analysis of 'omic data types in environmental research projects. The NEBC primarily collaborates with, and provides services to, researchers funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. The NEBC is also engaged in international collaborations in the arena of 'omic data standards, and is actively involved in supporting data annotation and submission to international molecular data repositories. Bioinformatics tools and support are provided via the development and distribution of the NEBC Bio-Linux system, as well as an active helpdesk.
CEH is responsible for making provision to acquire, manage and disseminate data in support of some NERC Research Programmes. Details of current NERC programmes can be found here. Programmes with CEH involvement include NEBC and Rural Economy and Land Use – harnessing science for sustainable rural development. Previous Programmes have included LOCAR (Lowland Catchment Research); URGENT (Urban Regeneration and the Environment); LOIS (Land-Ocean Interaction Study; TIGER (Terrestrial Initiative in Global Environmental Research); Soil Biodiversity - biological diversity and ecosystem function in soils and the Soil Bio data discovery tool.
A long-term (>40 years), large-scale (the whole of Great Britain) scheme that quantifies a range of contaminants in predatory bird tissues and eggs. More information is available on the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme website.
The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKMBS) was set up in 1976 to provide information on changes in the abundance of butterflies at selected monitored sites throughout the United Kingdom. The network now consists of over 1,700 sites, with more than 750 sites being recorded each year. The information collected by the scheme is used to measure national trends in butterfly numbers and assess the impacts of climate change. Results from the scheme provide one of the UK Biodiversity Indicators. The UKBMS is run as a partnership between CEH and Butterfly Conservation and is co-funded by Defra, Countryside Council for Wales, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Forest Research, Natural England, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage. More information, on habitats and other conservation isues, is available from the UKBMS website.
CEH coordinates the Environmental Change Network (ECN), the United Kingdom's integrated network for monitoring environmental change, officially launched in 1992. The ECN aims to identify and quantify environmental changes associated with human activities, to distinguish man-made change from natural variations and trends, and to give warning of undesirable effects. ECN maintains a set of monitoring sites across the UK and obtains comparable long-term datasets from these sites. More information about the ECN, including access to summary data, is available from the ECN website.
A critical load can be defined as a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge. A critical load refers to deposition of pollutants, whereas a critical level refers to pollutant concentrations in the atmosphere, which usually have direct effects on vegetation or human health.
The United Kingdom National Focal Centre (UK NFC) for critical loads modelling and mapping activities is based at CEH's Bangor site. It is responsible for coordinating critical loads mapping activities in the UK and compiling national critical loads datasets and maps. More information is available from the The United Kingdom National Focal Centre website.
Phenology is the study of the times of recurring natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate. It includes recording when you heard the first cuckoo or first saw the blackthorn blossom. This can then be compared with past records. In autumn 2000 the Woodland Trust joined forces with CEH to promote phenology to a far wider and larger audience. Over 40,000 people across the UK are now registered to record with the UK Phenology Network, around half of current records being made online.