Regionalization at the KBS
region0.gif 14.4 K

Authors: Stuart H. Gage, G. Philip Robertson

Scientific Basis for Regionalization at the KBS LTER Site

The Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) constitutes the only row crop agricultural site among the network of the NSF LTER sites. KBS is located in southwestern Michigan in a landscape comprised of a complex of interspersed crop fields, non-cultivated fields, deciduous forest patches, planted conifer stands, lakes and streams and urban centers. A study of the landscape diversity within LTER sites showed that the area in southwest Michigan surrounding the KBS LTER was the most diverse of the LTER sites (Magneson et al. 1993). At the Kellogg LTER site, research emphasizes investigations on patterns and consequences of diversity of plant and animal communities from the single plot to the landscape scale. Because the KBS-LTER Site represents row-crop agriculture, the site represents a large land base in North America.

Row-crop ecosystems at KBS are typical of cropping systems in the North Central Region of the United States which includes 12 states (OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, WI, MN, ND, SD, NE, KS, MO), commonly referred to as the "Corn Belt". Michigan's soils and climate are complex, in part due to the influence of the Great Lakes and glaciation.

Regionalization Research

LTER research at KBS is focused on gaining a basic understanding ecological relationships in high-productivity cropping systems. The application of this understanding should result in cropping systems in which ecological knowledge can substitute for our current reliance on agrochemicals. The objective of regional programs associated with this research is to determine how ecological interactions at a variety of scales are affected by and affect larger societal issues such as land use policy and the environmental cost of crop production, and larger environmental issues such as groundwater quality and radiative trace gas dynamics.

Several Regional programs and projects are ongoing or are under development by KBS-LTER investigators. The objective of these projects is to demonstrate and determine how research being conducted on organisms in the agricultural landscape can be scaled up to the larger regions of agricultural production on the North American Continent. The location of Kellogg LTER in southwestern Michigan provides a vantagepoint to examine biological and social features at different scales at the KBS Site from 1) a landscape perspective, 2) within Michigan's watersheds,3) at a statewide scale, 4) within the North Central or "corn belt" Region and 5) within the center of North America.

The selected projects are intended to demonstrate the scope of activities ongoing at the Kellogg LTER which have a regional theme. Each of the examples shows an ecological scale component as a focus on social implications.

Primary productivity
in Southern Michigan

Land use

Gypsy moth dynamics
in Michigan

Great Lakes
agricultural profile

Crop productivity
in the corn belt

Flow of biota
in the atmosphere


Gage, S.H. 1996. A perspective on sustainable agriculture in the Land Grant University System. Panel on Sustainable Agriculture. Proc. Eco-Informa 96. Vol. 10. Env. Res. Inst. Mich. Ann Arbor, MI. pp.146-154.

Krieves, L., S.H. Gage, G.P. Robertson and M. Klug. 1996. Regional resources at the Kellogg Biological Station. Interactive Poster. Eco-Informa 96. Lake Buena Vista, FL. November 1996.


Gage, S.H. and G.P. Robertson. 1996. Regional dimensions of the Kellogg Long Term Ecological Research Program. NSF-LTER Coordinating Committee, Harvard Forest, MS. September 1996.

Gage, S.H. 1996. Computational Ecology. Entomology Seminar, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. October 1996.

Gage, S.H. 1996. Biological aspects of agro-ecosystems at different scales. Earth System Science Education Address. Geology Department, Bryn Mawr College, Philadeliphia, PA. October 1996.

Top | KBS LTER home page | The LTER network

For information contact:

Document author(s): Stuart Gage
Revised: December 09, 1996