Approved Site Use Requests (SURFs) — Main Cropping System Experiment (MCSE)

Data in the KBS LTER core database may not be published without written permission of the lead investigator or project director Full terms of use

Site Use Request Forms are filled out by investigators wishing to conduct sampling on LTER properties. When approved, the request is listed on the web.

This datatable is part of the Agronomic Practices of the Main Cropping System Experiment dataset.

This dataset includes information on the agronomic practices of the Main Cropping System Experiment (MCSE), including the LTER Main Site treatments (T1-T8) and the Mid-successional (TSF) and Forested (TCF, TDF) sites.

Most long-term hypotheses of the KBS LTER are tested within the context of the MCSE. The LTER Main Site contains 7 different cropping systems (T1-T7) established in 1988 on a 48-ha area divided into 6 replicate blocks (R1-R6) of seven 1-ha plots. Each system is replicated in each block. The eighth system (T8) is a mown grassland on never-tilled soil, located 200 m off-site and replicated in four 0.06 ha plots.

Current MCSE treatments at the LTER Main Site include:

  • Conventional (T1): standard chemical input corn/soybean/wheat rotation conventionally tilled (corn/soybean prior to 1992)
  • No-till (T2): standard chemical input corn/soybean/wheat rotation no-tilled (corn/soybean prior to 1992)
  • Reduced Input (T3): low chemical input corn/soybean/wheat rotation conventionally tilled (ridge till prior to 1994), with a center prairie strip planted in each replicate in 2019
  • Biologically Based (T4): zero chemical input corn/soybean wheat rotation conventionally tilled (ridge till prior to 1994), with a center prairie strip planted in each replicate in 2019
  • Poplar (T5): Populus clones on short-rotation (6-7 year) harvest cycle
  • Switchgrass (T6): planted in 2019 and converted in 2018 from continuous alfalfa, replanted every 6-7 years)
  • Early Successional (T7): early successional community on historically tilled soil abandoned in 1989 and burned annually since 1997
  • Mown Grassland (Never Tilled; T8); successional community on never-tilled soil, mown annually since 1960

In 1993 three additional successional sites were added to the MCSE to provide reference communities for population and process comparisons. All are within 3 km of and share the same soil series as the LTER Main Site. These include:

  • Mid-successional (TSF): three old-field sites on historically tilled cropland abandoned in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Coniferous Forest (TCF): three conifer long-rotation plantations established in 1965
  • Deciduous Forest: three deciduous forest stands, two old-growth and one logged once ca. 1960

For each treatment (and for some, microplots nested within treatment plots) the following variates are routinely measured (described in greater detail in associated datasets):

  • plant characteristics including species distributions and abundances, aboveground net primary production by function;
  • soil chemical and physical characteristics, including soil moisture, pH, inorganic N pools, total C and N, and bulk density;
  • soil biological characteristics including greenhouse gas fluxes, soil leachate, N mineralization potential (buried bags); and
  • insect dynamics including distributions and abundances of major insect pests and predators.


Experiment: Main Cropping System Experiment (MCSE)
Data available from: April 2002 to January 2023
Dataset: KBS004
Datatable ID: View_SiteUseRequests.128
Repository link:
Related Tables:
Last Updated 2023-10-24
Variate Description Units
principal investigator name of investigator posting the request
project title of project served by the proposed sampling effort
date date the request was submitted or the date of the first proposed sampling

Data Excerpt

principal_investigator project date
Mark Hammond Use of T7 nitrogen addition microplots to investigate long term responses in an early successional plant community 2023-05-16
Kadeem Gilbert Exploring phylloplane pH 2023-05-11
Ashlynn Morin Synthesis of 10-years of wheat-maize-soybean microbiome research under different agricultural production systems 2023-05-09
Ellen Badger Hanson Exploring the Effects of Prairie Restoration Management on Soil Microbial Carbon Use Efficiency and Storage 2023-05-08
Jamie Smith Evaluating the role of adult dragonflies as predators in an agricultural system 2023-05-04
Tvisha Martin Do prairie strips alter the nematode community? 2023-05-02
Jamie Smith Ecosystem services of terrestrial arthropods in prairie strips 2022 2023-05-02
Poulamee Chakraborty Effect of plant systems and pore sizes on microbial processing of soil NO3 2023-05-01
Blair Van Agen Cover crops contribution to water and nitrogen use efficiency of corn and soybeans 2023-05-01
Maxwell FFAR soil C 2023-04-28
Goutham Thotakuri Understanding the resilience of soil to water drought conditions in relation to soil biological properties and pore structure 2023-04-28
Maninder Singh Using data-driven knowledge for profitable soybean management systems 2023-04-28
Mahya Ghazi Zadeh Hashemi estimating vegetation water content using SAR observations and deep learning 2023-04-24
Ali Yaghoubi Akbar Assessing Soil Quality and Ecosystem Health through Nematode Community Structure Analysis in Different Ecosystems and Management Practice 2023-04-19
Stacey VanderWulp KBS LTER Arthropod Longitudinal Sampling Study 2023-04-18
Christine Sprunger Soil Health Concepts in Agroecology - CSS 491 Course 2023-04-17
Christine Sprunger Assessing soil health and biodiversity across the KBS LTER 2023-04-17
Jamie Smith Ecosystem services of terrestrial arthropods in prairie strips 2023-04-17
Christine Sprunger Assessing and predicting soil carbon trajectories and saturation in complex landscapes 2023-04-17
Katherine Hulting Species interactions and ecosystem functioning in single small or several large (SLOSS) patches 2023-04-17
Alice Puchalsky The effects of prairie strips on pollinators and the pollination services they provide to crops 2023-04-13
Goutham Thotakuri Soil as a living system: biophysical feedbacks shape biological functions across scales 2023-04-13
Moriah Young Uncovering the short and long-term temporal changes of an early successional field’s soil microbial community affected by climate warming and drought 2023-04-06
Ethan Weinrich Using Cover Crops to Build Soil Phosphorus Fertility and Soil Health Improvements that Farmers Need (AMF biological assay on cover crop P uptake) 2023-04-05
Ethan Weinrich Using Cover Crops to Build Soil Phosphorus Fertility and Soil Health Improvements that Farmers Need (Differences in Long-Term Soil Phosphorus) 2023-04-05
DeShae Dillard Functional Diversity and Community Composition of Diptera in Agroecosystems 2023-04-04
Holly Vander Stel Rain Exclusion Experiment (REX) Soil Microbes 2023-03-30
Violeta Matus Effects of micronutrient additions to soils on N-fixer communities and N-fixation rates 2023-03-29
Cynthia Fiser Prairie Strip Biodiversity Experiment 2023-03-29
Cynthia Fiser Prairie Strip Biodiversity Experiment 2023-03-29
Jinho Lee Changing impacts of reconstructed prairie vegetation on pore characteristics 2023-03-27
Jamie Smith Butterfly abundance and diversity across a gradient of land use intensity 2023-03-27
Jamie Smith Effects of drought on ant activity and potential pest suppression in croplands 2023-03-27
Grant Falvo Resilience of plant, soil and microbial functioning to changing precipitation regimes 2023-03-24
Manni Singh Farming carbon: Does enhancing soil carbon boost soybean yield? 2023-03-24
Mia Howard Exploring how nitrogen availability affects the evolution of plant defenses 2023-03-14
Ruben Ulbrich Modeling and Scaling Crop Productivity, Biodiversity and GHG emissions 2023-03-02
Anita Simic Milas Estimation of leaf chlorophyll and nitrogen using a radiative transfer model 2023-02-20
Lana Bolin Partner choice as a driver of microbe-mediated plant adaptation to drought 2023-02-09
Sarah Roy KBS Intro to Field Methods Short Course for Undergraduates 2023-02-02
Grant Falvo Resilience of ecosystem functioning to changing precipitation regimes. 2023-01-03
Grant Falvo Long-term resilience of ecosystem carbon stocks to agricultural land use change in the U.S. Midwest 2023-01-03
Sarah M Thong The Impact of Biochar on Agricultural Soils in West and Central Michigan 2022-12-13
Maoz Dor Microbial carbon use efficiency along marginal land fields in biofuel cropping systems 2022-12-06
Grant Falvo Modeling the Global Warming Impact of Bioenergy Production Systems by Integrating Long Term Eddy Covariance, Remote Sensing, Plant Productivity and Soil Carbon Measurements 2022-12-02
Mauricio Tejera Aging effects on switchgrass 2022-12-02
Maoz Dor Deep soil cores 2022-11-07
Grant Falvo Drivers of structural and functional resilience of soil microbial communities to a changing climate 2022-11-02
Ethan Weinrich Using Cover Crops to Build Soil Phosphorus Fertility and Soil Health Improvements that Farmers Need 2022-11-02
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