Construction of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is set to begin this fall, after receiving $434 million dollars in construction funding through the National Science Foundation (NSF), starting with $18 million in FY 2011. According to the NEON announcement, the project will construct the nation’s first continental-scale ecological observatory, consisting of “62 sites across the U.S., utilizing cutting-edge technology that will gather and synthesize continental-scale data over 30 years on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. Such information will support the ability to understand and predict environmental change on regional and continental scales.”
NEON data and infrastructure will be made available to researchers, educators, students, decision makers, and the public. This will include airborne LiDAR and Infrared sensors, satellite data, continental land use and land cover change, and arrays of ground-based sensors measuring the atmosphere, soils and water.