In 2021, farms and meadows across Europe were monitored by scientists and farmers as part of the FRAMEwork initiative. In this first year of monitoring the experiments were largely preliminary, with a heavy focus on soil samples. This blog contains a roundup of just some of the plant monitoring that took place this year.
Firstly, in Austria, BOKU used 12 replicates (3x12=36 meadows) for sampling in May-August 2021. For their plant monitoring, they measured plant height, flower cover, and plant species richness as predictor variables on each meadow. To avoid sampling at the same time of the day, we investigated meadows once in the morning, and another time in the afternoon. In the following year, we will sample vice versa.
Further, soil sampled were taken in order to assess the change in soil nutrients/component levels in each meadow type. This picture shows the three different meadow types (a: abandoned meadow, b: intensive meadow, c: extensive meadow) used for insect sampling by the entomologist (d).
In July, Hutton carried out vegetation assessments in Scotland. A general assessment of vegetation within all the Farmer Cluster transects including the control was carried out. The GPS coordinates were taken at the same time as a soil sample which was analysed for its percentage carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen as part of ‘soil health’.
This year, the Spanish cluster had a more difficult challenge to collect data because of the problems presented by the regional landscape. It makes such tasks extremely time consuming and laborious because in the hilly area it is not easy to move from one transect to the next one. Therefore, no vegetation sampling was performed other than the flower counts that were requested on the pantrap protocol.
Finally in September, vegetation monitoring took place in the Czech Republic. This vegetation monitoring was carried out by CZU team members on 21st September following the EMBAL protocol provided by LIST. The same area of the Farmer Cluster as for birds and pollinator monitoring was used as trail.