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Data Extent

Patterns of precipitation and productivity on various topographic positions on the Central Plains Experimental Range, Nunn, Colorado

Field crew ANPP clipping plants from a research plot on the CPER

Thirty-six years of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) data collected across a topographic sequence in the semiarid shortgrass steppe of North America to examine patterns and drivers of spatiotemporal variability in ANPP. ANPP data were collected from the 6,500 ha USDA-Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER), which is part of the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR; 2012-present; https://ltar.ars.usda.gov/) network, a former Long-Term Ecological Research station (LTER, 1983-2012), and located in the shortgrass steppe of north-central Colorado, USA. Additional information and referenced materials about many of the long-term studies initiated on the CPER can be found: https://dx.doi.org/10.25675/10217/81141.

The topography at the CPER is characterized by gently rolling hills, and the topographic positions for data collection were focused along a catena in one of the most common ecological sites on the CPER, Loamy Plains (ID: R067BY002CO; NRCS, 2020). The plant community included four herbaceous plant functional types (PFTs): 1) perennial, warm-season, C4 grasses (primarily Bouteloua gracilis [Willd. ex Kunth] Lag ex Griffiths and B. dactyloides [Nutt.] J.T. Columbus), 2) perennial, cool-season, C3 grasses (primarily Pascopyrum smithii [Rydb] A. Love and Hesperostipa comata [Trin. & Rupr.] Barkworth ssp. comata), 3) cool-season, annual grass (Vulpia octoflora [Walter] Rydb.), and 4) forbs (primarily Sphaeralcea coccinea [Nutt.] Rydb.). Shrubs, subshrubs, and cactus were present but do not represent a large component of total ANPP and were not included in this study.

Daily precipitation data were obtained from a long-term (1979-2018) precipitation gauge associated with the National Atmospheric Deposition program (Site ID: NTN-CO22; http://nadp.slh.wisc.edu/), located on site. Missing precipitation data were gap-filled using CPER headquarters data (1939-2018), or from the Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) rain gauge (1997-2018, Site Number: 2017; https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/), depending on proximity and temporal overlap. Following gap-filling, precipitation data were omitted if >10% of the time series was missing for each focal time period (e.g. fall or spring).

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-104.78828434367 40.769862287053, -104.78828434367 40.89870286178, -104.62843325688 40.89870286178, -104.62843325688 40.769862287053))
Ag Data Commons
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Central Plains Experimental Range is a ~6400 ha Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network site in northeast Colorado, USA (40˚50’N, 104˚43’W, 1645 m above sea level))
Temporal Coverage
January 1, 1983 to August 31, 2018
Data Dictionary
Contact Name
Hoover, David
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service