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SGS-LTER Effects of grazing on ecosystem structure and function (GZTX): Vegetation basal cover on the Central Plains Experimental Range, Nunn, Colorado, USA 1992-2011, ARS Study Number 32

posted on 2023-11-30, 10:21 authored by Daniel Milchunas

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. When the CPER was established in 1939, researchers constructed a .5-1 ha grazing exclosure in each of the pastures. These areas have remained protected from grazing for the past 70 years. The remaining areas have been grazed for the past 20+ years. This collection of pastures and exclosures provided an extraordinary opportunity to reinitiate grazing and protection, and evaluate the balance between degradation and aggradation. We proposed to rearrange fences and expose areas to grazing that have been protected for 50 years, and protect areas from grazing that had been grazed for 50 years. The combinations of grazing conditions were: 1. Long-term protection 2. Long-term grazing (moderate) 3. 50 years of protection followed by grazing 4. 50 years of grazing followed by protection Net primary production, nitrogen dynamics, cattle utilization, and community dynamics of vegetation were measured. Additional information and referenced materials can be found:

Resources in this dataset:


Agricultural Research Service

National Science Foundation, DEB 1027319


Data contact name

Milchunas, Daniel


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

Milchunas, Daniel (2014). SGS-LTER Effects of grazing on ecosystem structure and function (GZTX): Vegetation basal cover on the Central Plains Experimental Range, Nunn, Colorado, USA 1992-2011, ARS Study Number 32. Colorado State University.