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Data from: Initial ecological change in plant and arthropod community composition after wildfires in designated areas of upland peatland

Cite this dataset

Kelly, Ruth; Montgomery, Ian; Reid, Neil (2023). Data from: Initial ecological change in plant and arthropod community composition after wildfires in designated areas of upland peatland [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fbg79cnzz

Abstract

This dataset is published in conjunction with the publication of : Kelly, R., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2022) Initial ecological change in plant and arthropod community composition after wildfires in designated areas of upland peatland. Ecology and Evolution, and contains the environmental, botanical and entomological datasets underpinning the analysis contained there in. Additionally, it contains datasets on seedbanks and bird species which were collected as part of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency funded project 'Quantifying the impact of wildfires in the Northern Ireland' from 2012 to 2015 (see: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/quantifying-impact-wildfires-northern-ireland-final-report-2016)

This data underpins the following publications which discuss the impacts of wildfires at these key upland sites in Northern Ireland: 

  • Kelly, R., Boston, E., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2016). The role of the seed bank in recovery of temperate heath and blanket bog following wildfires. Applied Vegetation Science, 19(4), 620-633.  https://doi.org/10.1111/avsc.12242
  • Kelly, R., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2018). Differences in soil chemistry remain following wildfires on temperate heath and blanket bog sites of conservation concern. Geoderma, 315, 20-26. - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.11.016
  • Reid, N., Kelly, R. & Montgomery, W.I. (2022) Impact of wildfires on ecosystems and bird communities on designated areas of blanket bog and heath. Bird Study (In press)
  • Kelly, R., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2022) Initial ecological change in plant and arthropod community composition after wildfires in designated areas of upland peatland. Ecology and Evolution. (In press)

Data were collected and collated by Ruth Kelly (ruth.kelly@afbini.gov.uk/ruthkelly123@gmail.com) in collaboration with Dr. Neil Reid, Dr. Emma Boston, Prof. W.I. Montgomery (Queen's University Belfast) and Dr. Damian Mc Ferran (National Museums of Northern Ireland). We are also very grateful to Roy Anderson, Orla McLaughlin, Anna Hart, Rachel Hamill, Adam Mantell, Tony Smith, Joanne Denyer and Richard Weyl for their expertise and assistance in species identification, and to Gillian Riddell, Caroline Finlay, Florentine Spaans, Jeremy Adelard, Marion Chapalain, Alice McPherson, Claire McVeigh, Amber Woods and Rachel Hamill for assistance and expertise in the laboratory and field. 

Methods

Data was collected at 6 upland Areas of Special Scientific Interest across Northern Ireland, to monitor ecological recovery following a series of large wildfires which occurred in 2011. GIS mapping was used to identify six Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) within which large wildfires had occurred for inclusion in this study. These ASSIs were selected on the basis of containing areas of both upland heath and blanket bog habitats that had been burnt during 2011, namely: Cuilcagh, Eastern Mournes, Glennasheevar, Mullaghcarn, Slieveanorra/Croghan, and Slieve Beagh. Surveys at each site were conducted in 2012–2015, corresponding with the first three years post-wildfire. Baseline data on vegetation communities pre-fire are sourced from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency habitat condition assessments at these sites. 

Survey methods differed between taxa or chemistry and are detailed in the following publications. 

  • For seed-banks see: Kelly, R., Boston, E., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2016). The role of the seed bank in recovery of temperate heath and blanket bog following wildfires. Applied Vegetation Science, 19(4), 620-633.  https://doi.org/10.1111/avsc.12242
  • For soil chemistry see: Kelly, R., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2018). Differences in soil chemistry remain following wildfires on temperate heath and blanket bog sites of conservation concern. Geoderma, 315, 20-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.11.016
  • For vegetation and invertebrates see: Kelly, R., Montgomery, W. I., & Reid, N. (2022) Initial ecological change in plant and arthropod community composition after wildfires in designated areas of upland peatland. Ecology and Evolution. (In press)
  • For birds see: Reid, N., Kelly, R. & Montgomery, W.I. (2022) Impact of wildfires on ecosystems and bird communities on designated areas of blanket bog and heath. Bird Study (In press)

Detailed metadata are given in the associated README.md file. 

Usage notes

Excel or OpenOffice

Funding

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, UK Government