Using double-sampling techniques to reduce the number of measurement trees during forest inventories

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Curtis L. VanderSchaaf Gordon Holley Joshua Adams


Variable-radius sampling techniques are commonly used during forest inventories. For each sample tree at a particular sampling point, diameter and height(s) are measured and then weight is estimated using established equations.  Heights can require a fair amount of time to measure in the field.  Separating the weight per acre estimate into two components; average basal area per acre and WBAR (individual tree weight-basal area ratio) across all points, can often lead to more efficient sampling schemes. Variable-radius sampling allows for a quick estimate of basal area per acre at a point since no individual tree measurements are needed.  If there is a strong relationship between weight and basal area, then by knowing basal area you essentially know weight.  Separation into two components is advantageous because in most cases there is more variability among basal area estimates per point then there is in WBAR. Hence, you can spend more resources establishing many points that only estimate basal area – often called “Count†points. “Full†points are those where individual tree measurements are also conducted. There is little published information quantifying the impacts on basal area, weight, etc., estimates among different “Full/Count†sample size ratios at the same site. Inventories were examined to determine this method’s applicability to loblolly pine plantations in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana. Results show there is more variability among basal area estimates than WBAR and that the amount of trees being “intensively†measured is excessive.  Based on these four plantations, a “Full†point could be installed ranging from every other point to every fifth point depending on site conditions and the desired variable.


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VANDERSCHAAF, Curtis L.; HOLLEY, Gordon; ADAMS, Joshua. Using double-sampling techniques to reduce the number of measurement trees during forest inventories. REFORESTA, [S.l.], n. 3, p. 31-40, july 2017. ISSN 2466-4367. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 may 2018. doi:


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