National Ecological Observatory Network
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is designed to collect continental-scale data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity.
NEON will be the first observatory network of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales over multiple decades. NEON has partitioned the U. S. into 20 ecoclimatic domains across the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico), 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.
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 freely available to anyone wishing to use it, including 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.
NEON completed construction of its first production-grade prototype site, located on agricultural land near Sterling, Colorado, in late 2010. Constructing the entire NEON network will take approximately five years, so NEON expects to be in full operation by approximately 2016.
NEON is a project of the National Science Foundation, with many other US agencies and NGOs cooperating—including NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and NCAR. The Network is managed by NEON, Inc., a nonprofit corporation.