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more dense in complex coastal areas than in the short grass prairie). Site selection could take advantage of existing monitoring stations, such as those at local, regional, or national parks, airports, nature reserves, biological research stations, or other areas with appropriate monitoring facilities. The establishment of new sites is likely to be required in some areas, either because of the low density of existing facilities in the area or because of the unusually high complexity of the area.

Data Collected

Each site could be equipped with the appropriate instrumentation to collect and transmit basic physical and biological data including the following:

  • Physical data and sampling

  • Weather: temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, insolation1, wind speed, wind direction, and variability

  • Atmospheric chemistry

  • Soil chemistry and microorganisms

  • Water chemistry and flow rates

  • Biological data and sampling

  • Species richness and diversity

  • Population dynamics of target species

  • Land-use maps

Standardizing Formats

The methodologies for data collection must be standardized among all sites in the network. These methodologies will be established by a Task Force on Data Standardization consisting of qualified representatives from the physical, biological, and statistical sciences. Although a majority of the data collected will be the same throughout the network, some site-specific data sets and protocols must be established to account for variation among the sites.

To ensure that the protocols continue to be the best available, the methodologies will be reviewed by an external ad hoc committee convened every five years. In addition, site sampling and pilot studies could be used to establish sampling strategies in various environments.

Data Entry, Storage, and Access

Data collected at each of the sites will be entered into a central database on a regular basis (daily, monthly, quarterly, or annually as appropriate). Data entry could be via electronic media, and current data could be available upon demand by scientists, policy-makers, and the general public.


Insolation is the amount of incoming radiation.

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