Neon (Natioinal Ecological Observatory Network) is a new “big science” project in . It is a thirty year study of the various US ecosystems by gathering data standardized way over the next 30 years..
Naturally being who I am this info is coming from an economist article: http://www.economist.com/node/21560838. Also a quick internet search found this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Ecological_Observatory_Network.
This project has major Federal funding & looks to me like it could possibly be an extremely important project. Its major weakness may be that it confined to the U.S. however.