The Buell-Small Succession Study is a long term ecological study designed to document old field succession. The study was founded in 1958 by Murray Buell, Helen Buell, and John Small. It includes ten fields that were actively farmed until released for the study. Each year a team of researchers returns to the fields and measures the percent cover of plant species in permanently marked plots.
By looking at how the species in the plots and their cover change over time, researchers can learn how succession progresses in the fields. Understanding the succession of the BSS fields can help researchers determine how other abandoned fields in similar systems will change over time. Because the BSS data set is extensive in space and continuous in time, it can be used to answer a wide range of additional questions.