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SGS-LTER Ecosystem Stress Area - Soil Carbon & Nitrogen in shortgrass steppe on the Central Plains Experimental Range in Nunn, Colorado, USA 1991, ARS Study Number 3

posted on 2023-11-30, 10:21 authored by Indy Burke

This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado ( The data table and associated metadata document, which is generated in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. Water, nitrogen, and water-plus-nitrogen at levels beyond the range normally experience by shortgrass steppe communities were applied from 1971 through 1975, plant densities were sampled through 1977, and then sampling resumed in 1982, with sampling frequencies changing from annually to every other year. The initial sampling from 1970 to 1974 showed that the water and water plus nitrogen treatments had the strongest effect on plant community structure, both treatments increased biomass, and exotic weed species were noted on the water plus nitrogen treatment. Later sampling from 1982 to 1991 showed a ten-fold increase in exotic weed species on the water plus nitrogen plots as compared to the controls (Milchunas and Lauenroth 1995), a community change that has persisted on this site due to a chronic elevation of soil nitrogen caused by a plant tissue/soil organic matter feedback mechanism (Vinton and Burke 1995). In 1998, Six new treatments were superimposed on the historic study site. The six new treatments were: control, sugar, lignin, sawdust, lignin and sugar, and sawdust and sugar.In 2010, plots will be sampled every 5 years. Our objective in this study is to examine how plant communities change through time and explore implications of these changes for monitoring potentially stressed ecosystems. Additional information and referenced materials can be found:

Resources in this dataset:


Agricultural Research Service

National Science Foundation, DEB 1027319


Data contact name

Burke, Indy

Data contact email


Colorado State University

Use limitations

URL for Access Policies Data Access Policy Data sets were provided by the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Program, a partnership between Colorado State University, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and the U.S. Forest Service Pawnee National Grassland. Significant funding for these data was provided by the National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research program (NSF Grant Number DEB-1027319). The SGS-LTER project (1980-2014) was established as one of the first sites in the US LTER Network and has produce a rich legacy of digital materials including reports, proposals, images, and data packages. Data, products and other information produced from the SGS-LTER are curated as a collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado ( Materials can be accessed from the Institutional Digital Repository of Colorado State University or upon request by emailing All data are open for dissemination and re-use for any purpose, but you must attribute credit to the owner and cite use appropriately according to the LTER Data Access Policy.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description

The Short Grass Steppe Site Encompasses A Large Portion Of The Colorado Piedmont Section Of The Western Great Plains. The Extent Is Defined As The Boundaries Of The Central Plains Experimental Range (cper). The Cper Has A Single Ownership And Landuse (livestock Grazing). The Png Is Characterized By A Mosaic Of Ownership And Land Use. Ownership Includes Federal, State Or Private And Land Use Consists Of Livestock Grazing Or Row-crops. There Are Ngo Conservation Groups That Exert Influence Over The Area, Particularly On Federal Lands.

ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere
  • biota
  • farming
  • geoscientificInformation

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Central Plains Experimental Range
  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

agroecosystems; rangelands; sustainable agricultural intensification

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 215

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Burke, Indy (2014). SGS-LTER Ecosystem Stress Area - Soil Carbon & Nitrogen in shortgrass steppe on the Central Plains Experimental Range in Nunn, Colorado, USA 1991, ARS Study Number 3. Colorado State University.