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The USA-NPN consists of four components or tiers, following the “Framework for Environmental Monitoring and Related Research” recommended by the Committee on Environmental and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council (CENRNSTC) (see Figure). Each tier represents different levels of spatial coverage and related environmental information: 1) networks of local intensive sites focused on process studies; 2) spatially extensive environmental networks focused on standardized observations; 3) volunteer and education networks; 4) remote sensing products that can be assimilated to extend surface observations. The tip of the pyramid represents intensive measured sites, potentially including the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER) and AmeriFlux installations. The second tier represents extensive, existing networks, potentially including the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (NWS COOP), National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring and the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis National Program (USFS FIA) sites. The third, even broader, tier represents citizen scientists and educational groups. These contributors are critically important, and the bulk of observations may come from this group. The base of the observation pyramid represents remotely sensed data, which can provide wall-to-wall coverage, and that can extend point-based observations across the landscape.