The experiment is a randomized complete block design with four whole plot hetereogeneity treatments replicated within each of four blocks (n=16 whole plots). The whole plot treatments were created using different combinations of soil depth and nutrient manipulations. The control plots contained no depth or nutrient manipulations. The 'maximum hetereogeneity' plots contained three 2 m x 8 m vertical strips assigned to ambient, enriched and reduced N treatments and four 2 m x 6 m horizontal strips assigned to deep and shallow soil to result in six treatment combinations. The maximum heterogeneity plots are a split-block design. Each plot contained 12 subplots (2 m x 2 m) for sampling. All of the plots had surface soil temporarily removed to a depth of approximately 25 cm and natural limestone slabs were laid in strips assigned to the shallow soil treatment. The soil from all plots was then replaced, leveled, and disked (2-3 cm deep). In February 1998, we incorporated sawdust (49% C; C:N ratio=122) into the strips assigned to the reduced-N treatment. The average C concentration and bulk density in the surface 15 cm following long-term cultivation was 1.5% and 1.2 g cm-3, respectively. Sawdust was tilled into the soil at a rate of 5.5 kg dry wt./m2 to achieve a C concentration representative of native prairie soil (approx.3% C). Surface applications of granular sugar were initiated in 2004 at a rate of 200 g sucrose m-2 (84.22 g C/m2) 3-4 times each growing season. Strips assigned to the enriched-N treatment were fertilized with 5 g N m2/y (applied as ammonium-nitrate) in July of the first growing season and early June of each subsequent year.
Biomass was harvested from 0.1 m2 quadrats in each of the 12 subplots within the maximum and control whole-plot treatments. Biomass was clipped at the end of each growing season in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, and 2012 corresponding to 1, 2, 3, 8, and 15 years since the agricultural field was sown with native grasses and forbs. Biomass was dried for 1 week at 60oC, sorted into this and previous years' growth, and weighed.
For additional metadata information see: http://lter.konza.ksu.edu/sites/default/files/DC.pdf
For additional methods information see: http://lter.konza.ksu.edu/sites/default/files/MM.pdf