About Field Sites
Lower Teakettle (TEAK) is a terrestrial NEON field site located in the Sierra National Forest, 80 km (50 mi.) east of Fresno, CA, near Courtright and Wishon Reservoirs. NEON samples 51.4 km2 (12,700 acres) at the site, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and partially encompasses the Pacific Southwest Research Station’s Teakettle Experimental Forest. It is a mixed conifer forest, ranging in elevation from 1900 - 2807 m (6230 - 9210 ft.). The varied terrain is typical of the Sierra Nevadas, with rugged mountains, meadows and prominent granite outcrops. TEAK is part of the Pacific Southwest Domain (D17), which is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east, and encompasses most of California. There are four other NEON field sites in D17, including two additional terrestrial sites and two aquatic sites. TEAK is colocated with the aquatic site Teakettle 2 Creek (TECR).  
Like most of the Sierra Nevada range, TEAK experiences hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. It receives most of its annual precipitation as snowfall between November and May. Snow accumulation is highly variable, but has averaged a maximum depth of 1140 mm (45 in.) over the past 30 years. Mean annual temperature is 8°C (46°F). Mean annual precipitation is 1222.5 mm (48.1 in.).  
The geology of TEAK is glacial deposits overlaying granitic rocks. 
Soils at TEAK are classified as coarse-loamy, mixed, superactive, frigid Pachic Humixerepts. 
TEAK is colocated with the aquatic site Teakettle Creek (TECR). The flow regime of TECR is typical of snowmelt-dominated mountainous streams in the west. Base flows are lowest in the winter (November - March) and highest in the late spring (April – June). TECR has a mean base flow of 11 liters per second in the autumn months. Snow melt begins in March and peaks in June. Discharge during the peak flow months of May and June is approximately 18 times greater than base flow. 
Dominant tree species include red and white ﬁr (Abies magniﬁca and Abies concolor), Jeﬀrey pine (Pinus jeﬀreyi), and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). Stand structure is diverse, with active recruitment and extensive coarse downed wood. Although dense tree cover limits understory shrubs, bush chinquapin (Chrysolepis sempervirens) often grows on forested slopes. Exposed rock and shallow soils support other shrub species, such as mountain whitethorn (Ceanothus cordulatus), greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula) and pinemat manzanita (Arctostaphylos nevadensis). Pine and ﬁr forests provide habitat for more shade-tolerant herbaceous plants, whereas meadows, streams, and patches of shallow soil accommodate a greater diversity of native grasses, graminoids, and forbs. 
Past Land Management and Use
Before the area was primarily dedicated to research, it was subject to cattle grazing and fire suppression, but no timber harvesting. In the 1930s, state and federal government agencies began to research how the management of Sierra Nevada watersheds could impact the Central Valley of California's water supply. The Teakettle Experimental Area was established in 1938, when 13 km2 (3200 acres) in Teakettle Creek were designated for hydrological study. In the 1940s, stream-gauging stations and sediment basins were built in the study area. The area was officially designated “The Teakettle Creek Experimental Forest” in 1958. The main objectives of the forest were to develop timber harvesting techniques and patterns that would increase water yield. Throughout the 1970s, researchers used these stations to collect data on water flow and weather conditions. In the late 1990s, a large experiment involving over two dozen researchers started in the area. The experiment continues to run, examining the effects of fire and thinning on mixed-conifer ecosystems.  
Current Land Management and Use
TEAK is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and partially encompasses the Pacific Southwest Research Station’s Teakettle Experimental Forest. The USFS manages the forest for grazing and research activities associated with the long-term "Teakettle Experiment," which started in the late 1990s and examines the effects of fire and thinning on ecosystem function.   
 Terrestrial Observation System (TOS) Site Characterization Report: Domain 17. NEON.DOC.003900vB
 U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Mineral Resources Data System: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia. https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/
 Aquatic Instrument System (AIS) Site Characterization Report: Domain 17. NEON.DOC.003536vA.
 PRISM Climate Group., Oregon State University, http://prism.oregonstate.edu, created 4 Feb 2004.
Remote sensing surveys of this field site collect lidar, spectrometer and high-resolution RGB camera data.
This site has a flux/meteorological tower that is 59 m (194 ft) tall with seven 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 tipping bucket at the top of the tower and a series of throughfalls located in the soil array.
One phenocam is attached to the top and the bottom of the tower. Here we show the images from the most recent hour. The full collection of images can be viewed on the Phenocam Gallery - click on either of the images below.
Soil Sensor Measurements
This site has five soil plots placed in an array within the airshed of the flux tower. Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) at soil surface, soil heat flux, solar radiation, and throughfall are measured at the soil surface in each soil plot. Soil moisture, soil temperature, and CO2 concentration are measured at multiple depths in each soil plot.
At terrestrial sites, field ecologists observe birds and plants, and sample ground beetles, mosquitoes, small mammals, soil microbes, and ticks. Lab analyses are carried out to provide further data on DNA sequences, pathogens, soils, sediments, and biogeochemistry. Learn more about terrestrial observations or explore this site's data products.
Field Site Data
US Forest Service
Site Access Allowed
Site Access Details
Researchers should coordinate directly with the US Forest Service for permitting and approval.
NEON Field Operations Office
Domain 17 Support Facility
NEON Field Operations Address
4727 West Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93722
NEON Field Operations Phone
Mean Annual Temperature
Mean Annual Precipitation
Dominant Wind Direction
Mean Canopy Height
Dominant NLCD Classes
Evergreen Forest, Shrub/Scrub
Average number of green days
Average first greenness increase date
Average peak green date
Average first greenness decrease date
Average minimum greenness date
Number of Tower Levels
Megapit Soil Family
Coarse-loamy - mixed - superactive - frigid Pachic Humixerepts
Related Field Sites
Other Domain D17 Field Sites
Other Field Sites in CA