From small forest samples to generalised uni‐ and bimodal stand descriptions
- Journal Article
Forests provide multiple services, and in the face of global change adaptive management strategies are needed, which inevitably must be based on models. However, most locally accurate forest models are tied to the stand scale and cannot readily be applied across large areas. Empirical data for model initialisation are often not available at large spatial scales. National Forest Inventories (NFIs) provide spatially representative tree and stand samples, but their samples are typically small, that is, only a few trees are measured per plot, and they are truncated, that is, not each tree has the same probability of being observed. To overcome these issues, we develop and apply a methodology to derive stand descriptions from small sample data, taking the Swiss NFI as a case study. We extended the traditional Weibull function to (multi‐)truncated unimodal and bimodal forms that are suitable for the representation of samples from survey designs with multiple callipering thresholds. Subsequently, we applied these functions in an extended parameter prediction method to derive stand diameter distributions from representative samples. Additionally, we predicted species compositions using a multinomial logistic regression model and assigned them to the diameter distributions of the stands. The diameter distribution of 9.1% of the Swiss NFI samples was better described by a bimodal than a unimodal Weibull function. The uni‐ and bimodal diameter model in combination with the model to determine species composition can be used to predict stand descriptions from single small samples or entire forest types in the target area. Thereby, the bimodal form is suitable for capturing stand structures with distinct under‐ and overstorey. In Switzerland, the diameter distributions of stands are typically positively skewed. Our method can be applied to any large‐scale dataset (e.g. NFI) and allows to generate initial conditions in terms of spatially representative stands. These, in turn, are suitable for forest stand simulators, which allows for developing adaptive forest management strategies at large scales, by simulating realistic and site‐specific stand development while still reflecting detailed management measures. Furthermore, stand descriptions can be used to assess tree species diversity, regeneration and harvest potentials. Show more
Journal / seriesMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Pages / Article No.
SubjectForest model initialisation; Forest stand description; National forest inventories; Small forest samples; Trees species composition; Truncated and mixed diameter distributions; Weibull probability density function
Organisational unit03535 - Bugmann, Harald / Bugmann, Harald
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