Latest Innovations with NEON: Impact of Climate Change on Tree Migration, Plant Diversity and Grazing Lands, and Capturing Plant Traits from Space

infographic for the June 2024 Battelle NEON Spotlight Blog

Since 2016, Battelle has had the privilege of managing and operating the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in partnership with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

Originally conceived at the turn of the millennium and designed to collect measurements for three decades, NEON is a U.S.-wide network of 81 field sites that offers the global scientific community access to rich, continent-scale datasets that are driving ecological research.

This month, we are spotlighting three examples of the latest research leveraging NEON data. Below, you can read more about climate change’s effects on the interrelation between fungi and forests, the impact of plant diversity management and intensification methods on grazing lands, and how using satellite data can inform us about plant traits. 

The latest news from NEON includes: 

  1. Fungi May Limit Tree Migration in Northern Areas
    New NSF-funded research demonstrated the relationship between tree populations and the symbiotic fungi that interact with their roots. Specifically, the research reveals how climate change reduces the amount of habitat suitable for supporting both fungi and trees, in turn limiting those trees’ ability to move and adapt to a changing environment. The research sheds light on the complex yet critical interdependencies that drive species’ ability to adapt to impacts brought on by climate change

  2. NEON Sites Used to Link Plant Diversity to the Stabilization of Grazing Lands
  3. Researchers from Archbold Biological Station examined how plant diversity management practices influence the productivity and ecological stability of North American grazing lands. Using NEON data in their study, they explored the impact of management intensification, which includes grazing density and the planting of non-native species on the grazing land ecosystem. Researchers found that plant diversity leads to greater and more stable forage production on grazing lands. The results also showed that the method of intensification was important, and that while intensification can increase productivity in the short term, it can also lead to a decrease in biodiversity and resilience over time, making these lands more susceptible to drought.

  4. Satellite Data Informs Plant Functional Traits Across High Dimensions
  5. Professor Jin Wu and a research team from the University of Hong Kong used a novel combination of satellite technology and data from NEON sites in the eastern U.S. to map plant functional traits and diversity. Plant traits provide key insights into how ecosystems respond to environmental stressors (e.g., carbon sequestration, air temperature, hydrological regulation). Wu’s team leveraged NEON data (which provide detailed insights) in combination with satellite imagery (which enables data analysis across vast areas) to help scientists better understand ecosystem diversity and function.

Sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle, NEON is a continental-scale ecological observatory network dedicated to providing high-quality, consistently generated, standardized data that are free and available to all users. By enabling scientists, researchers, and students to address critical questions and understand ecosystem changes over time, the NEON program allows the ecological community to tackle questions and problems at a scale that was not possible before.

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

Uncover the ecological secrets hidden across diverse ecosystems.

June 28, 2024
Batelle Insider
Estimated Read Time
3 Mins


Balancing Life, Climate and Nature

Learn More

Research Infrastructure Solutions

Empowering Scientific and Engineering Success

Learn More
Stay In the Know

Get Battelle Insights in Your Inbox

Get Updates

Related Blogs


Receive updates from Battelle for an all-access pass to the incredible work of Battelle researchers.