Regional mixed-effects height–diameter models for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations

European Journal of Forest Research (Impact Factor: 1.96). 01/2007; 126(2):253-262. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-006-0141-7

ABSTRACT A height–diameter mixed-effects model was developed for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations in the southeastern US. Data were obtained from a region-wide thinning study established by the Loblolly
Pine Growth and Yield Research Cooperative at Virginia Tech. The height–diameter model was based on an allometric function,
which was linearized to include both fixed- and random-effects parameters. A test of regional-specific fixed-effects parameters
indicated that separate equations were needed to estimate total tree heights in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic
regions. The effect of sample size on the ability to estimate random-effects parameters in a new plot was analyzed. For both
regions, an increase in the number of sample trees decreased the bias when the equation was applied to independent data. This
investigation showed that the use of a calibrated response using one sample tree per plot makes the inclusion of additional
predictor variables (e.g., stand density) unnecessary. A numerical example demonstrates the methodology used to predict random
effects parameters, and thus, to estimate plot specific height–diameter relationships.

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    ABSTRACT: Mixed effects models can be used to obtain site-specific parameters through the use of model calibration that often produces better predictions of independent data. This study examined whether parameters of a mixed effect height-diameter model estimated using loblolly pine plantation data but calibrated using sweetgum plantation data would produce reasonable predictions of sweetgum. Results showed model calibration resulted in sound predictions of arithmetic mean height for the sweetgum data used in model calibration. However, data at older ages did not occur along the same general linear trend as the younger data used in calibration resulting in poor predictions. It should not be concluded that a mixed models framework using different species in model fitting and calibration will produce poor results. Poor predictions probably were obtained at older ages because the data used in calibration were too young and not because the parameter estimates using loblolly pine could not be calibrated for sweetgum.
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    ABSTRACT: Site-specific height-diameter models may be used to improve biomass estimates for forest inventories where only diameter at breast height (DBH) measurements are available. In this study, we fit height-diameter models for vegetation types of a tropical Atlantic forest using field measurements of height across plots along an altitudinal gradient. To fit height-diameter models, we sampled trees by DBH class and measured tree height within 13 one-hectare permanent plots established at four altitude classes. To select the best model we tested the performance of 11 height-diameter models using the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). The Weibull and Chapman-Richards height-diameter models performed better than other models, and regional site-specific models performed better than the general model. In addition, there is a slight variation of height-diameter relationships across the altitudinal gradient and an extensive difference in the stature between the Atlantic and Amazon forests. The results showed the effect of altitude on tree height estimates and emphasize the need for altitude-specific models that produce more accurate results than a general model that encompasses all altitudes. To improve biomass estimation, the development of regional height-diameter models that estimate tree height using a subset of randomly sampled trees presents an approach to supplement surveys where only diameter has been measured.
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May 17, 2014