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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 1:20 EDT
NEON Eco-climatic Domains Image 7
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NEON Eco-climatic Domains (Image 7)

November 10, 2011
The San Joaquin Experimental Range near the Sierra National Forest, located about 20 miles north of Fresno, Calif., is a NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) research site. The range was established in the 1930s to improve knowledge of land management in the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley. NEON's primary research focus is on climate change impacts at various elevations. Construction of a tower is planned in an oak savannah, typical of those found around California's central valley. 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. The NEON project 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. The San Joaquin Experimental Range is the candidate core site for NEON's Pacific Southwest Domain.