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An energy-balancing, cross-layer data gathering protocol (EB-CLDG) for wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is presented in this paper. EB-CLDG is proposed for monitoring and periodic reporting applications and the network is organized into concentric tiers around the sink. An energy-balancing clustering algorithm is employed to mitigate the ldquohot spotrdquo problem. Thus the number of clusters closer to the sink node is bigger than those farther away from sink node, the inner cluster heads(CHs) can reduce the energy consumption within a cluster and preserve more energy for inter-cluster data relaying. In addition to, the MAC and routing of networks are integrated to minimize the protocol overhead. The scheme of synchronization within a cluster can not only synchronize sleep schedule to ensure data deliveries among neighbor nodes but also avoid energy waste for following and maintaining unnecessary schedules. And the scheme of invitation is employed to make collision-free within a cluster, which can reduce the density of contending nodes and the collisions of traffic being probably temporal correlation. Simulation results show that EB-CLDG leads to more uniform energy dissipation and prolongs the lifetime of network than S-MAC.