Successional and forested communities were added to the Main Cropping System Experiment (MCSE) in 1993 to serve as reference systems for comparison of ecosystem processes and to represent the low end of the MCSE management intensity gradient. All systems are minimally- or unmanaged and include a set of three 40-60 year old Midsuccessional communities (SF; abandoned agricultural fields), a set of three long-rotation (40-60 year old) Coniferous plantations (CF), and a set of three late-successional Deciduous forests (DF) that have never been cleared for agriculture (two have never been cut). All are within 3 km of the LTER Main Site and are on the same soil series.
Each of the three replicated sites contains an established set of 5 sampling stations for within-plot sampling. Individual plots can contain subplots to address specific questions (e.g., +/- fertilizer).