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Title: Multiple Dimensions of Resilience: How NEON Supports Ecology and the Research Community in the Face of Compounding Disasters
Quantifying the resilience of ecological communities to increasingly frequent and severe environmental disturbance, such as natural disasters, requires long-term and continuous observations and a research community that is itself resilient. Investigators must have reliable access to data, a variety of resources to facilitate response to perturbation, and mechanisms for rapid and efficient return to function and/or adaptation to post-disaster conditions. There are always challenges to meeting these requirements, which may be compounded by multiple, co-occurring incidents. For example, travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic hindered preparations for, and responses to, environmental disasters that are the hallmarks of resilient research communities. During its initial years of data collection, a diversity of disturbances—earthquakes, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and floods—have impacted sites at which the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) intends to measure organisms and environment for at least 30 years. These events strain both the natural and human communities associated with the Observatory, and additional stressors like public health crises only add to the burden. Here, we provide a case-study of how NEON has demonstrated not only internal resilience in the face of the public health crisis of COVID-19, but has also enhanced the resilience of ecological research communities associated with the network and provided crucial information for quantifying the impacts of and responses to disturbance events on natural systems—their ecological resilience. The key components discussed are: 1) NEON’s infrastructure and resources to support its core internal community, to adapt to rapidly changing situations, and to quickly resume operations following disruption, thus enabling the recovery of information flow crucial for data continuity; 2) how NEON data, tools, and materials are foundational in supporting the continuation of research programs in the face of challenges like those of COVID-19, thus enhancing the resilience of the greater ecological research community; and 3) the importance of diverse and consistent data for defining baseline and post-disaster conditions that are required to quantify the effects of natural disasters on ecosystem patterns and processes.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1724433
NSF-PAR ID:
10346085
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Environmental Science
Volume:
10
ISSN:
2296-665X
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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