This dataset contains vascular plant species abundance, average sward height, and soil analysis data from Parsonage Down National Nature Reserve (NNR), in southern England, in 1970, 1990 and 2016. Vascular plant species abundance and average sward height were recorded for each quadrat located along one of four transects. The transects were located in a CG2 Festuca ovina – Avenula pratensis grassland which dominates the majority of the site. Soil samples were also taken from various points along each transect and subsequently analysed for pH, loss-on-ignition, exchangeable potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate and total nitrogen. The dataset was created for a study which examined long-term vegetation change at the nature reserve.
Publication date: 2019-04-11
Each survey was carried out by experienced botanical surveyors working in pairs (or threes), using the same recording methods and equipment, including one surveyor who was involved in both the 1970 and 2016 re-survey. The plant data were collected using 20 cm x 20 cm quadrats located every 3 feet along 4 transects. For each quadrat, vascular plant species abundance were recorded using the Domin scale and average sward height was recorded using a metre ruler. Twenty-two soil samples were taken at various points along each transect at two depths, 0-5 cm and 5-10 cm. Soil analyses was conducted using standardised protocols, detailed within the supporting documentation. Wooden stakes from the 1970 survey allowed the original transects to be found in 1990. However, the stakes were no longer present in 2016 so transects were accurately re-located by geo-referencing the original survey maps using GIS (geographic information system) methods, detailed within the supporting documentation.