The Consortium of Regional Ecological Observatories (COREO) was created in October 2004 to foster the development of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).
While there has been no shortage of available ecological data, this tends to be more incidental and regional in nature, making more large-scale comparisons and interpretations necessarily less accurate or useful. The NEON project aims to provide continental-scale data over long periods of time (i.e., decades).
NEON, Inc. is focused on the creation and operation of an observing system similar to the network of space observatories, but with an ecological instead of stellar focus. The data collected from NEON observatories includes comprehensive ecological details from all over the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.
The US has been divided into 20 distinct areas (called “domains”), each with unique ecosystem characteristics. Data collected from the NEON project presents changes in both time and space, focused mainly on the effects of climate change, land use, and invasive species.
The project has been in the preliminary development stage until this year (2010), when the first sites begin to provide data. Under the proposed timetable, the complete NEON project will be fully operational by 2016.
Map of Regions
Detailed Ecological Map
- Atlantic Neotropical (Puerto Rico, Southern Florida)
- Great Lakes
- Prairie Peninsula
- Appalachians-Cumberland Plateau
- Ozarks Complex
- Northern Plains
- Central Plains
- Southern Plains
- Northern Rockies
- Southern Rockies-Colorado Plateau
- Desert Southwest
- Great Basin
- Pacific Northwest
- Pacific Southwest
- Tundra (Alaska)
- Taiga (Alaska)
- Pacific Tropical (Hawaii)
Each domain includes one core site to represent unmanaged wildlife conditions, as well as two additional core sites that can be moved to best represent human land management effects. Each focuses on one unique or specialized aspect of the ecosystem, in some cases generating comparisons from wildly different landscapes (for example the Southwest Desert domain and the Northeast, which share an urban-to-rural focus).
It is our hope that by gathering this information we will be able to have a real effect of the planet. We know that by studying the effects we are having along with the other points of interest involved we can figure out the best way to move forward. The information we collect should allow us the to figure out what is going on. It seems in this day & age that there is natural disaster after natural disaster. We need to figure out what is happening before it is too late to make a difference. We are at the first time in the history of mankind where our species has the control of our own destiny. We are looking towards a bright future either because we are able to find a way through the hard time we are in or because the nukes are bright when they explode!