Environmental Information

National Ecological Observatory Network

National Ecological Observatory Network

The National Ecological Observatory Network is a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation and managed under cooperative agreement by NEON, Inc. NEON's Mission is to: Enable understanding and forecasting of the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on continental-scale ecologyby providing infrastructure and consistent methodologies to support research and education in these areas.

NEON, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) corporation created to manage large-scale ecological observing systems and experiments on behalf of the scientific community. NEON, Inc. itself is not a funding agency.

NEON’s goal is to contribute to global understanding and decisions in a changing environment using scientific information about continental-scale ecology obtained through integrated observations and experiments.

NEON will create a new national observatory network to collect ecological and climatic observations across the continental United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The observatory network will be the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales over multiple decades.

NEON is currently in the planning and development stages, and expects to enter the construction phase in Summer 2011, when sites will be built and data will begin to come in. Constructing the entire NEON network will take approximately five years, so NEON expects to be in full operation by 2017.

NEON is a Public Resource

NEON has partitioned the U. S. into 20 ecoclimatic domains, each of which represents different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance. Data will be collected from strategically selected sites within each domain and synthesized into information products that can be used to describe changes in the nation’s ecosystem through space and time.

caption Source: NEON, Inc.

The data NEON collects and provides will focus on how land use, climate change and invasive species affect biodiversity, disease ecology, and ecosystem services. Obtaining integrated data on these relationships over a long-term period is crucial to improving forecast models and resource management for environmental change.

These data and information products will be readily available to scientists, educators, students, decision makers, and the public. This will allow a wide audience, including members of underserved communities, to use NEON tools to understand and address ecological questions and issues. The NEON infrastructure is a means of enabling transformational science and promoting broad ecological literacy.

Editor's Note



(2012). National Ecological Observatory Network. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbf19f7896bb431f6a62fa


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