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Seasonal aboveground plant biomass estimates at 15 net primary production (NPP) study sites at Jornada Basin LTER from 1989-ongoing

posted on 2024-06-07, 19:07 authored by Debra C Peters, Laura F Huenneke
This data package contains aboveground vegetation cover, volume, and calculated biomass values at the 15 Net Primary Production (NPP) study sites on Jornada Experimental Range (JER) and Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center (CDRRC) lands. Sites were selected to represent the 5 major ecosystem types in the Chihuahuan Desert (upland grasslands, playa grasslands, mesquite-dominated shrublands, creosotebush-dominated shrublands, tarbush-dominated shrublands). For each ecosystem type, three sites were selected to represent the range in variability in production and plant diversity; thus the locations are not replicates. All sites are excluded from domestic grazing. Eleven sites are in non-grazed pastures, and at the other four sites 1 hectare areas around the observational plots were fenced in 1988. At all sites a grid of 49 (48 at one playa location) 1m x 1m replicate quadrats was laid out when sampling began in 1989. For each quadrat, aboveground biomass has been calculated from two data sources: 1) non-destructive horizontal cover and vertical height measurements of individual plants, or plant parts, within each quadrat, and 2) linear regression coefficients for each plant species derived from off-quadrat cover, height, and harvested biomass measurements. Non-destructive measurements (1) are taken during winter, spring, and fall measurement campaigns, then aggregated by species for each quadrat, and resulting dimensions are used to calculate species biomass (grams) by quadrat and season using using the species-specific regression coefficients derived from dataset 2. This is the most detailed biomass dataset available and can be used to derive values of net primary production between seasons or annually. Each dataset record contains calculated biomass (and related variables) by species, quadrat, season, and site. Data collection is ongoing with new observations in spring, fall, and winter of each year, but this data package may be updated less frequently.Attention:1) For most species, these data are not appropriate for estimates of percentage cover or volume because of the way the data are collected. 2) Calculated values in this data package have changed over time as the methodology for estimating biomass has changed. If you are updating or adding to an earlier analysis of these data we recommend consulting with the dataset authors or a Jornada data manager. 3) Relating long-term NPP derived from this package with long-term precipitation is problematic given the importance of wet and dry periods and their effect on production in these ecosystems. 4) Data from 2013 and later are currently in provisional status and subject to change as we review the allometric equations used for estimating biomass.See Notes in the methods element for further details.




Data contact name

Data Manager

Data contact email


Environmental Data Initiative (EDI)

Use limitations

This information is released under the Creative Commons license - Attribution - CC BY ( The consumer of these data ("Data User" herein) is required to cite it appropriately in any publication that results from its use. The Data User should realize that these data may be actively used by others for ongoing research and that coordination may be necessary to prevent duplicate publication. The Data User is urged to contact the authors of these data if any questions about methodology or results occur. Where appropriate, the Data User is encouraged to consider collaboration or co-authorship with the authors. The Data User should realize that misinterpretation of data may occur if used out of context of the original study. While substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of data and associated documentation, complete accuracy of data sets cannot be guaranteed. All data are made available "as is." The Data User should be aware, however, that data are updated periodically and it is the responsibility of the Data User to check for new versions of the data. The data authors and the repository where these data were obtained shall not be liable for damages resulting from any use or misinterpretation of the data. Thank you.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • annually


  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description

Npp Study Locations: There Are 15 Sites Used In The Npp Study, Spanning 5 Vegetation Community Types In The Jornada Basin. This Bounding Box Includes All 15 Sites. More Precise Geographic Coordinates For This Study May Be Requested From The Jrn Lter Data Manager (, Jornada Basin

ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere
  • geoscientificInformation
  • farming
  • biota

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Jornada Experimental Range

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

  • 216

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public