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Stimulated by research on small, forested watersheds that suggested unusual sources of nitrogen may be important contributors to the long-term development of productive ecosystems, Herb Bormann, one of the founders of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, established a series of planted mesocosms to study this question in 1982. Because of the sand substrate used to grow the ecosystems, these experimental units became affectionately known as the Sandboxes.