MARGINAL LAND EXPERIMENT

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