image of the shortgrass steppe


Shortgrass Steppe Weather

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Also: Briggsdale Highway Cam

Welcome to the Shortgrass Steppe (SGS) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project website. The SGS-LTER project was funded by the National Science Foundation in 1982 as one of the first sites in the US LTER Network. This collaborative, interdisciplinary research project was founded in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University by ecosystem scientists who developed novel approaches to the study of grassland ecosystems during the International Biome Program (IBP) (1968-1974). The SGS-LTER project was built upon the foundation of knowledge and data obtained during IBP; the primary SGS-LTER field research area was established at the old IBP grassland headquarters on the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER), a United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) site in Nunn, Colorado. The research site sits in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains at the western edge of the shortgrass steppe of North America. Over time, SGS-LTER scientists expanded their research studies beyond the CPER, into the Pawnee National Grassland, out across the longitudinal precipitation gradient of the Great Plains and along the latitudinal gradient from Wyoming to Mexico. They also conducted cross-site collaborative research internationally in grasslands located in South America, Asia and Africa.  Scientists at the SGS-LTER produced field methodologies, modeling tools and knowledge relevant to grassland ecologists, natural resource managers, and science educators.  Some of the SGS work is summarized in the book ‘Ecology of the Shortgrass Steppe: A Long-Term Perspective (Lauenroth and Burke, 2008)

Visitors are welcome at our field station and research sites. Arrange a Visit.

If you are considering conducting research on the shortgrass steppe, please read our Information for Researchers.

For various maps of the SGS Research Area, go to the Maps Page.