Ecological Continuity Trust (ECT)

ECT is a unique ecological research charity working across the UK to support long-term ecological field experiments


Ecological Continuity Trust (ECT) overview

The ECT was formed in 2008 in direct response to the loss of long-term ecological experiments (LTEs) across the UK. Our vision continues to be the development of a strategic network of LTEs that involve genuine ecosystem manipulations in the real world and true replication for statistical purposes. This includes safeguarding existing high-quality experiments and data, as well as facilitating new experiments for the long-term.

We aim to ensure that experimental field ecology is at the heart of evidence-based policymaking, sustainable land use, and biodiversity improvement in a time of environmental change, thereby contributing to both science and society. ECT is unique as the only registered charity in the UK dedicated to long-term field experiments.

ECT currently maintains a national register of 36 active LTEs across 37 sites in all four nations of the UK. These cover habitats ranging from grassland to woodland to upland peat bog, and experimental treatments ranging from land management techniques to manipulations simulating the effects of changing climate.

Many of the sites on our register have been running continuously as field experiments for decades and, in a couple of cases, for over 100 years (Park Grass and Palace Leas). Several include a restoration component, investigating in a rigorous scientific way how ‘treatments’ can lead to biodiversity gains/losses in different habitats.


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