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.

SOAP is a mosaic of supalpine forested and scrubland at an elevation of 1100 meters. It is dominated by Pinus ponderosa. Unprecedented tree mortality due to drought and beetle infestations is changing the forest community.

Sampling was done with NEON technicians Kevin Sperzel and Drake Sweet. Sampling at six plots included censuses of the 40 x 40 meter expanded NEON plot areas.

Formerly dominated by P. ponderosa, plot 2 is now predominantly Calocedrus decurrens, with downed trees throughout. Cone counts were completed on newly censused trees and NEON censused trees.

Plot 8 is an open P. ponderosa stand, with little recent mortality. This stand further supports Quercus kelloggii of reproductive age. The understory is sparse, with Chamaebatia foliolosa and grasses.

Plot 11 is located within a riparian zone with a slightly more diverse canopy of C. decurrens and Abies concolor. The midstory includes Corylus cornuta, Cornus sessilis, and Quercus chrysolepis above A. concolorseedlings, poison oak, grasses, and tall sock destroyer in the understory.

Plot 25 is located on a rocky hillside. Few trees share this plot with a slab of granite. Trees include few P. ponderosa, C. decurrens, and one Q. kelloggii. The shrub understory includes Q. kelloggii and Arctostaphylos viscida. The forest floor is covered in C. foliolosa.

Plot 1 is a dense hillslope dominated by P. ponderosa, Q. kelloggii, Q. chrysolepis and C. decurrens. There are many dead C. decurrens and dying P. ponderosa. The understory consists of Ceanothus integerrimus, Q. chrysolepis and Toxicodendron deversilobum. The herbaceous layer is covered in C. foliolosa.

Old growth P. ponderosa occur in plot 4 with C. decurrens, Q. kelloggi and Pinus lambertiana. The mid story supports Q. chrysolepis above a sparse understory.

P. ponderosa
P. lambertiana cones

Plot 3, 5, 6 and 7 were not sampled, due to high mortality rates that have left few live trees and risk of treefall.

SOAP Plot 1
SOAP Plot 2
SOAP Plot 4
SOAP Plot 8
SOAP Plot 11
SOAP Plot 25

Field Researchers

Don't miss these other field sites:

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)

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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.

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.

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