In 1980, Konza Prairie was selected as one of the initial six LTER sites funded by NSF. A group of KSU faculty led by G. Richard Marzolf in collaboration with Dean Bark, Lloyd Hulbert, Mike Johnson, Don Kaufman, Robert Robel and John Zimmerman was responsible for securing funding for LTER I, and focusing the initial research program on comparative investigations of biotic responses to fire and climatic variability. The primary site for this research was the Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS), and LTER research incorporated the unique watershed-level prescribed fire treatments that were part of the KPBS site experimental plan. Long-term research sites and sampling protocols were established during this period with an emphasis on studies of the extremes of annually burned vs. unburned watersheds and upland vs. lowland sites. Many of these research sites and datasets, established at the onset of the Konza LTER program, have continued as core components of our LTER program.