Diversity and Sustainability of Heathlands

by Ed Tripp, University of Nottingham

My name is Ed, and I am a scientist doing research at the University of Nottingham. My part in the OPAL project is to look at heathland habitats in the UK.

Heathlands are made up of heather, and other shrubs (see picture). If it is a nice heathland, there will be very few types of grasses or trees. Heathlands only grow well on soils with very low fertility, and heather is well adapted to grow in these conditions. But heathlands are disappearing. Because of landuse change, a lot of heathland is being converted into grassland or woodland, and we have lost over 90% of our heathland in this way.

I will keep you posted on my research every step of the way. There will be really exciting times, and some less exciting times. There will be some happy moments, where everything works out exactly the way I planned. There will be some stressful moments when I wonder why I ever wanted to become a scientist.

You can follow my research, and even leave comments which might give me some new ideas! More next time.