In 2013, GLBRC Marginal Land experimental sites were established in Wisconsin and Michigan to evaluate the potential for using lower productivity fields for low input bioenergy feedstocks. There are six sites; Wisconsin and Michigan each have a site in the south, central and northern part of the state.

All 7 treatments are replicated in 4 blocks.  The treatments include G5-switchgrass (Panicum virgatum variety Cave-in-rock), G6- giant miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), G7- a 5-species native grass mix, G8- hybrid poplar trees (“NM-6”, Populus nigra x populous maximowiczii), G9- an early successional community (ground prepared like other treatments but no seeds were planted), G10- restored prairie (18-species mix including forms, grasses and legumes) and G11- historical vegetation (no change- no ground preparation and no planting).

The plots are approximately 64 feet x 40 feet except for G8 which is 64 feet x 64 feet. Click here for species and seeding rates of the switchgrass (G5), native grasses (G7) and restored prairie (G10) treatments.

Fertilizer split plots, in which one-half of each plot has fertilizer applied and the other half remains unfertilized, were established for G9 in 2014, G5-G7 and G9-G11 in 2015, and G8 in 2016.

Michigan & Wisconsin Marginal Lands Experiment – Overview Map (pdf)

Soil and Climate Overview (pdf)

Plot Maps

Michigan Marginal South – Lux Arbor
Michigan Marginal Central – Lake City
Michigan Marginal North – Escanaba
Wisconsin Marginal South – Oregon
Wisconsin Marginal Central – Hancock
Wisconsin Marginal Central – Wisconsin River
Wisconsin Marginal North – Rhinelander

The Marginal Land Experiment and other GLBRC data are available here:
GLBRC Experiment Data

Download Marginal Land location and access information here.

Marginal Land soil descriptions (from County Soil surveys)

    Lux Arbor – Kalamazoo loam (2-6% slope), also a tiny bit of Coloma-Boyer loamy sands, but does not overlap with the cropped area
    Lake City – Graycalm-Rubicon sands (0-6% slope), Montclam-Graycalm complex (0-6% slope), Nester sandy loam (1-6% slope), Kawkawlin loam (0-3% slope), and Croswell sand (0-3% slope)
    Escanaba – Onway fine sandy loam (2-6% slope), also a tiny bit of Charlevoix sandy loam, but does not overlap with cropped area
    Rhinelander – Padus/Pence sandy loams (1-6% slope)
    Hancock – Plainfield sand (0-2 and 2-6% slopes) and Sparta loamy sand (0-2% slope)
    Oregon – Dodge silt loam, Kidder loam (6-12% slopes, eroded), McHenry silt loam (6-12% slopes, eroded), McHenry silt loam (12-20% slopes, eroded), St. Charles silt loam (0-2% slopes), St. Charles silt loam (2-6% slopes), Dodge and Kidder soils (6-20% slopes, eroded)

Marginal Land Use History

Land Use History of the three Michigan Marginal Land sites

Land Use History of the three Wisconsin Marginal Land sites