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SGS-LTER paleopedology study-pedon descriptions on the Central Plains Experimental Range, Nunn, Colorado, USA 1992-1993


This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Repository ( The data table and associated metadata document, which is generated in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. CPER Paleopedology Study – Pedons - Forty-one pedons representing sites of contrasting geomorphic position (upland plain, upland ridge, dissected upland, terrace, dune) were chosen for pedologic and geomorphic analyses. These pedons are located on the major physiographic units at the CPER, and contain deposits of suspected fluvial and eolian origin. To examine spatial variability, the pedons were typically sampled along transects spaced at 30m intervals. Samples were taken with a hydraulic soil probe to the depth of probe refusal and from suitable stream and road cuts. All soils were described and sampled by genetic horizon (Soil Survey Staff, 1992), and analyzed at Colorado State University. Analyses included particle size and organic C. Nineteen of the 41 pedons were subjected to stable isotopic analysis of organic C and carbonate.


The Short Grass Steppe site encompasses a large portion of the Colorado Piedmont Section of the western Great Plains. The extent is defined as the boundaries of the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER). The CPER has a single ownership and landuse (livestock grazing). The PNG is characterized by a mosaic of ownership and land use. Ownership includes federal, state or private and land use consists of livestock grazing or row-crops. There are NGO conservation groups that exert influence over the area, particularly on federal lands.
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL)
Shortgrass Steppe-Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER)

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organic matter
inorganic nutrients


Associated Publications

Blecker, S. W., C. M. Yonker, C. G. Olson, and E. F. Kelly, Paleopedologic and Geomorphic Evidence for Holocene Climate Variation, Shortgrass Steppe, Colorado, USA. Geoderma 76, no. 1-2 (March 1997): 113-130.
Kelly, E. F., S. W. Blecker, C. M. Yonker, C. G. Olson, E. E. Wohl, and L. C. Todd, Stable Isotope Composition of Soil Organic Matter and Phytoliths as Paleoenvironmental Indicators. Geoderma 82, no. 1-3 (February 1998): 59-81.
Yonker, C. M., D. S. Schimel, E. Paroussis, and R. D. Heil, Patterns of Organic Carbon Accumulation in a Semiarid Shortgrass Steppe, Colorado. Soil Science Society of America Journal 52, no. 2 (March-April 1988): 478-483.