Demographic data will play a central role in testing current theories in plant ecology and forecasting the effects of global change. However, long-term data on vital rates are very limited, especially for species in herbaceous plant communities. Here we present a data set that has great potential to increase our understanding of plant demographic processes. Every year from 1932 to 1972, researchers in Hays, Kansas (USA), mapped all individual plants in a series of 1-m2 quadrats in a mixed grass prairie. The rare combination of temporal extent and fine spatial resolution makes it possible to follow individual herbaceous plants (or genets) through time and to answer questions such as: How does individual survival and recruitment vary with precipitation and temperature? How are these relationships modified by interactions with neighboring conspecifics and heterospecifics?
The data set includes the digitized maps in Arc Export format, a tabular, nonspatial version of the entire data set, descriptive information about each quadrat including its sampling schedule, a species list containing information on plant functional types, and monthly climate data.
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