|The famous Birnam Oak|
Image: J. Shanklin
Jon said "Dan's talk linked in nicely with the previous one and his monitoring had seen similar evidence for an increase in graminoids." These are the rough notes that Jon took, so may be subject to editing at some point, if we realise that there are errors in reporting. But for now, here we go:
"Many of the rare plants occur in flushes and other places which are not so severely affected by the environmental changes. Ben Lawers has been known as a hot-spot for rare plants for over a century, but there had been no monitoring and populations were not known when NTS took on the site. In 1979 a ranger-naturalist was employed and new locations, for example of Carex microglochin, were found, and Sagina nivalis was refound. A complete survey of the rare plants was carried out in 1981. Counts of S. nivalis show variation between a peak of nearly 4000 in 1996 and around 1000 in the 21st century, which was interpreted as a general decline".
At this point Jon - a physicist - offers his own comment "I would not say there was a trend as only four data points are available!" Good point, Jon.
All fascinating stuff - and that was all before lunch on Day 1! More to follow, watch this space.