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NEON Sampling Boundaries
Tower Airshed Boundary
This map depicts the spatial layout of this field site. Please note that some locations may have moved over time due to logistics, safety and science requirements.
This map was updated on January 29, 2019
Construction Status for this Site
NEON's PUUM field site is located in the Pu'u Maka'ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR) on the eastern side of Hawaii’s “Big Island,” managed by the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). More than 18,000 acres in size, the NAR is home to a rainforest with many native species, some of them endangered. It was established to protect some of the Big Island’s best wet native forest and unique geologic features.
Total data products planned for this site: 116
Site Host & Access Site Host:
Hawaii State Forest Reserve System Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Is additional non-NEON research allowed at this site?:
Site Characteristics Latitude/Longitude:19.55309, -155.31731 Elevation:1685 m Mean Annual Temperature:13C/55.4F Mean Annual Precipitation:2685 mm Dominant NLCD Classes:
Pahoehoe and aa of the Kau Basalt, deposited between 200-750 years ago.
USGS HUC: h20010000
The dominant wind direction is east-southeast.
The NEON project team evaluated several other sites in Hawaii before settling on Pu`u Maka`ala. Site selection was conducted in cooperation with local stakeholders, including the Hawaii DOFAW and local scientists and experts of the
NARS Commission. To get permitted, the site went through a rigorous environmental assessment, involving numerous state, federal and local community groups including the Three Mountain Alliance (TMA). TMA is a partnership of organizations involved in preservation of Hawaii’s native ecosystems and responsible management of land and resources on the island. The team wanted to ensure that the construction and operation of the NEON flux tower and sampling plots would not impact endangered species or impose on local hunting traditions or culturally sensitive areas. The PUUM tower and instrument hut will be located in an area of the NAR designated as “previously disturbed” to minimize impact on pristine areas of the forest.
In addition to supporting the overall goals of the NEON project, data collected from the PUUM field site will be invaluable for several local preservation and research projects. The Pu`u Maka`ala NAR includes native koa and `ōhi`a forests. `Ōhi`a forests, which make up nearly 80% of Hawaii’s native forest land, have been struck in recent years by a fungal disease known as
Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD).
NEON data will also be used by the
`Alalā Project, a partnership between the Hawaii DOFAW and several other preservation groups seeking to restore Hawaii’s only native crow species to the wild. Terrestrial organismal sampling on the site will provide monitoring data for other threatened and endangered species as well, including the `i`iwi (a threatened honey creeper), the `io (a native Hawaiian hawk) and the nēnē (a native Hawaiian goose). Mosquito data from the NEON site will also help local researchers track disease vectors that may impact native avian species. Site Exceptions
Due to the unique mix of soil conditions, flora and fauna on the island, researchers at PUUM will need to make a number of modifications to the sampling and measurement protocols used at most other NEON field sites.
Because the island is volcanic and soil depths average just 4 inches, soil measurement methods have been modified for the site.
Field sampling schedules have been modified to minimize traffic through ecologically sensitive areas and accommodate Hawaii’s year-round growing season.
Small mammal sampling has been eliminated, as Hawaii has only one native terrestrial mammal (the Hawaiian Hoary Bat), an endangered species which is already being monitored by other research programs. Tick sampling has also been eliminated.
Tree tagging methods have been modified to avoid creating entry points for ROD in `ōhi`a trees.
The data from this field site will support a broad range of local research programs and provide new insights into the ecology of native species in Hawaii.
Data Collection Types
Airborne Remote Sensing Surveys
Remote sensing surveys of this field site collect lidar, spectrometer and high-resolution RGB camera data.
The flux/meteorological tower at this site is 105’ with 6 measurement levels. The tower top extends above the vegetation canopy to allow sensors mounted at the top and along the tower to capture the full profile of atmospheric conditions from the top of the vegetation canopy to the ground. The tower collects physical and chemical properties of atmosphere-related processes, such as humidity, wind, and net ecosystem gas exchange. Precipitation data are collected by a Double Fence Intercomparison Reference (DFIR) near the tower, and a series of throughfalls located in the soil array.
This site has one phenocam on the top of the flux tower and one near the bottom of the tower.
Soil Sensor Measurements
This site has five soil plots placed in an array within the airshed of the flux tower. The following measurements may be collected at the soil surface in each soil plot:
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) at soil surface
Soil heat flux
The following measurements are collected at multiple depths in each soil plot:
Field ecologists collect the following types of observational data at this site:
*Please note that the small mammal sampling protocol does not take place at this field site due to endangered species requirements
Field Operations Office
60 Nowelo Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720