The plant diversity sampling design for the National Ecological Observatory Network

Publication Type: Journal Article

Authors: David Barnett, Peter Adler, Benjamin Chemel, Paul Duffy, Brian Enquist, James Grace, Susan Harrison, Robert Peet, David Schimel, Thomas Stohlgren, Mark Vellend

Source: Ecosphere, Volume 10 (2019)



The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is designed to facilitate an understanding of the impact of environmental change on ecological systems. Observations of plant diversity—responsive to changes in climate, disturbance, and land use, and ecologically linked to soil, biogeochemistry, and organisms—result in NEON data products that cross a range of organizational levels. Collections include samples of plant tissue to enable investigations of genetics, plot‐based observations of incidence and cover of native and non‐native species, observations of plant functional traits, archived vouchers of plants, and remote sensing airborne observations. Spatially integrating many ecological observations allows a description of the relationship of plant diversity to climate, land use, organisms, and substrates. Repeating the observations over decades and across the United States will iteratively improve our understanding of those relationships and allow for the testing of system‐level hypotheses as well as the development of predictions of future conditions.

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