Mountain Lake Biological Station (MLBS)

Mountain Lake Biological Station is located in the Southern Appalachians of Southwest Virginia. This field site is administered through the University of Virginia. The NEON plots extend from mixed decidious forests to pine plantations.

The MLBS is surrounded by the Jefferson National Forest, on the ridge that divides Atlantic and Mississippi drainages. The field station sits at an elevation of 1250 m.

Plot 1 is located near the top of the ridge, in shallow rocky soils. The canopy supports Quercus rubra, Betula lenta, and Acer pensylvanicum. The mid story is dominated by Hamamelis virginiana and the under story supports an array of herbaceous species. Quercus rubra has been heavily affected by the gypsy moth in this area.

Plot 2

Plot 2 is an open stand on a rocky slope that descends to a stream. This mixed decidious forest includes Quercus spp., Acer spp, and Betula spp. The mid story is dominated by Hamamelis virginiana and Acer pennsylvanicum.

Plot 11 is dominated by short, straggly oaks, includes Q. rubra, Q. alba, and Q. velutina. Most of these oaks show signs of dieback and defoliation due to gypsy moth. This flat rocky stand also supports Acer pensylvanicum and Magnolia accumulata above a dense layer of ferns. NEON’s tree census for this stand will not occur until the winter of 2018.

Plot 9 has a short canopy and is dominated by Quercus spp. and Acer pennslyvanicum. This open stand with shallow, rocky soils has a sparse understory with patches of grass.

Plot 5 is dominated by Quercus rubra and Acer pennsylvanicum. Rocky soils include grassy areas with exposed boulders and dense fern thickets. Medium-size Q. rubra were heavily impacted by gypsy moth.

Plot 5
Plot 3

Plot 3 is located in a bottomland, with deeper soils and a dense fern understory. The canopy is dominated by Quercus rubra, Acer pennsylvanicum and Betula alleghaniensis.

Plot 10 is an open stand of Quercus spp with extensive defoliation by gypsy moth. Between boulders, the understory supports graminoids throughout.

Plot 8 is located on a steep, wet, rocky gradient. This rich, tall stand is dominated by many different deciduous trees, including Liriodendron tulipfera, Quercus spp, Acer spp., Prunus serotina, Carya glabra, and Tilia americana.  Throughout the rocky under story, there is a thin mixture of ferns and briers.

Plot 7 was placed in a riparian area next to a planted stand of Pinus, that had recently been harvested.  The plot sits close to the stream, where dense patches of rhododendron are supported. The canopy is dominated by Quercus rubra, Oxydendrum arboreum, and Acer rubrum. There are a few escaped Pinus echinata on the outside of the forty meter plot.

Plot 6 is a planted Pinus echinata stand located in a bog like bottom land. The under story is pretty sparse due to a burn in the past five years. There are a couple of hardwood species supported, Quercus alba and Prunus serotina.  Cone counts were completed on the censused Pinus trees.

MLBS Plot 1
MLBS Plot 2
MLBS Plot 3
MLBS Plot 5
MLBS Plot 6
MLBS Plot 7
MLBS Plot 8
MLBS Plot 9
MLBS Plot 10
MLBS Plot 11

Field Researchers

Don't miss these other field sites:

Soaproot Saddle (SOAP)

Soaproot Saddle is part of the Sierra National Forest and managed by the Forest Service. Jessica Bolis, NEON domain manager, facilitated access to the plots.

Wind River Experimental Forest (WREF)

The Wind River Experimental Forest, north of the Columbia River River Gorge and part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, has been studied by the USFS since 1908.

Yellowstone (YELL)

Parent materials combine a history of volcanism, faulting, and glaciation. The park remains seismically active, with frequent earthquakes and many hydrothermal features. Vegetation includes a mosaic of forest, sagebrush-steppe and riparian bottomlands.

Treehaven (TREE)

The 560-ha Treehaven Forest lies within the northern Great Lakes region south of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Operated by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, this site focuses on natural resource education.

Bartlett Forest (BART)

Bartlett Experimental Forest (BART), located in the White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, is managed as the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

Harvard Forest (HARV)

Sampling at Harvard Forest includes long term plots established by our lab in 2012 and new efforts located at NEON plots.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is located south of Annapolis, MA. Formally farmland, this coastal plain forest sits on the western shore of the Chesapeake bay. The 1070-ha site is operated by the Smithsonian Institute.

Talladega National Forest (TALL)

The Talladega NEON site is located within the Oakmulgee Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest. This rolling terrain is part of the Fall Line Hills of the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain. In the 1800’s this area was heavily logged, but since the 1980’s the Forest Service has worked on restoring this area back to the Longleaf Savannah ecosystem.

Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS)

The University of Florida hosts the NEON OSBS site at their Ordway-Swisher Biological Station in north-central Florida. Andrew Rappe, the Assistant Director, gave us an orientation to the site.

Disney Wilderness Preserve (DSNY)

Formerly ranchland, the Disney Wilderness Preserve has been restored to Pine savanna under ownership of The Nature Conservancy. Previously, most of the preserve consisted of flatwoods open to cattle and excluded from fire.

Niwot Ridge (NIWO)

Niwot Ridge is an LTER site administered through University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)at their Mountain Research Station. NEON sites extend from P. contorta and subalpine spruce-fir to above treeline.

Our Partners

PBGJAM is a collaborative project with financial and logistical support from the following partners