NEON Eco-climatic Domains Image 5
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NEON Eco-climatic Domains (Image 5)

November 10, 2011
The Talladega National Forest in Alabama is a NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) research site. NEON is a large-facility project that collects data from across the U.S. on the impact of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. NEON is a project of the National Science Foundation (NSF), with many other U.S. agencies and non-government organizations cooperating. NEON has partitioned the U.S. into 20 eco-climatic domains, with each representing different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate and ecosystem performance. Each domain contains one core site representing unmanaged wild-land conditions within it and two re-locatable sites, to collect data that focuses on human land-management effects on ecosystems. Taken together, the core sites act as a baseline for ecological conditions that can be compared to one another or to the conditions at the re-locatable sites. These comparisons at both the domain and national levels will provide critical information that can be used to test ecological models and identify the impact of land-use change and invasive species on the ecology. Talladega National Forest is the NEON candidate core site for the Ozarks Complex Domain. The site is located in the Gulf Coastal Plain of west-central Alabama and represents its general terrain, soils and forest vegetation. Research is primary focused on climate change, but research into the ecology and water distribution and movement of the Black Warrior Watershed, located south of the site to the Gulf Coast at Mobile Bay, is also covered.

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