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Field Sites

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CZEN is a worldwide network of field-based research sites spanning environmental variables such as climate, time, biota, topography, parent material and disturbance. The network of sites allows researchers to test environmental variables one by one while holding other variables relatively constant. Within this framework, soils studied across environmental gradients become natural laboratories for answering important societal questions about weathering, nutrient cycling, soil genesis, ecosystem function and landform evolution.

CZEN sites help advance and integrate answers to the key CZEN research questions and investigators working at these sites are interested in furthering CZEN’s goal of standardizing data and sample collection protocols. The standardization of techniques will promote inter-comparison of Critical Zone processes across a variety of lithologies, ecosystems and climate zones. CZEN encourages researchers to add their own sites to the CZEN network.

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Field site categories in the CZEN network

Critical Zone Observatories - Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs) are NSF-funded observatories for the study of processes occurring in the Critical Zone (Program Solicitation: NSF 06-588 - Critical Zone Observatories). The CZOs’ goal is to foster collaboration among interdisciplinary scientists and engineers interested in the coupling between chemistry, biology, and geology at the surface of the earth. At present there are three funded CZOs.

Seed sites – Seed sites are NSF-funded sites (NSF EAR-0632516 and NSF EAR-0819857) offering researchers opportunities to examine the interconnectedness of Critical Zone processes in different lithologies, climates and topographic regimes. There are currently 11 seed sites throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Internationally funded equivalents to Critical Zone Observatories – These observatories have the same goal as the NSF-funded Critical Zone Observatories, but have been funded by European agencies and are located outside of the United States.

U.S. and international affiliates –These sites are outside the U.S. CZO and international equivalent programs, but are sites where researchers are working on the same questions and have similar goals to the funded CZOs. Sites within the U.S. or funded by U.S. sources are listed as "U.S. affiliates” while international sites are listed as "international affiliates."

Adding your site to CZEN

CZEN encourages researchers working in the Critical Zone to add their research site to the CZEN network. Adding your field site helps build the network and increases opportunity for interdisciplinary and inter-site research collaboration. You can make access to your site’s information available to all CZEN members, or limit access to CZEN members whom you approve.