Patterns of phenology for plants and animals control ecosystem processes, determine land surface properties, control biosphere-atmosphere interactions, and affect food production, health, conservation, and recreation. Phenological data and models have applications related to scientific research, education and outreach, agriculture, tourism and recreation, human health, and natural resource conservation and management, but until recently there was no coordinated effort to understand phenology at the national scale in the
Core functions and services of USA-NPN include development of an information management system including standards and databases, establishment of key partnerships, facilitation of development of research and decision support tools, and implementation of communication, education and outreach programs. An on-line, integrated plant and animal phenology monitoring program provides standardized methods and monitoring protocols for hundreds of local, regional, and nationally distributed plant and animal species. Monitoring methods are designed to determine sampling intensity and absence data. Future directions include increased integration with national and international formal and informal science networks; enhanced consistency and availability of remote sensing of phenology terminology, methods, products and services; tools for discovery, description, ingestion, curation, integration and distribution of historic phenology datasets; and, improvement of tools for data entry, download and visualization.