Sampling trees to develop allometric biomass models: How does tree selection affect model prediction accuracy and precision?

Dutcă, Ioan, Mather, Richard and Ioras, Florin (2020) Sampling trees to develop allometric biomass models: How does tree selection affect model prediction accuracy and precision? Ecological Indicators, 117. 0-0. ISSN 1470-160X

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Developing allometric biomass models is an important process because reliability of forest biomass and carbon estimations largely depend on the accuracy and precision of such models. The effects of tree sampling on tree aboveground biomass (AGB) prediction accuracy and precision are complex and can, therefore, be difficult to quantify. In this paper we use a Monte Carlo simulation to investigate how model prediction accuracy and precision are affected by tree sampling approaches. Because diameter at breast height (D, in cm) is the most common predictor of tree AGB (in kg dry weight), we focused our analysis on the AGB-D relationship. The following sample characteristics were investigated: (i) sample size; (ii) extent of the D-range (difference between the largest and the smallest D value); (iii) position of D-range (characterized by the starting point of D-range); and (iv) the size-distribution (distribution of D) of sample trees. We found that, although the natural variability of AGB-D relationship was a key driver for both prediction accuracy and precision, the above sample characteristics were important for improving prediction accuracy. Although having a negligible effect on precision, both sample size and size-distribution of sample trees, greatly influenced prediction accuracy. We demonstrate that selecting a constant number of trees for each D class (i.e. uniform distribution of the sample trees over the D-range) generally produced models that were more accurate predictors of AGB. The extent and position of D-range, although considerably affecting the goodness of fit and the standard errors of allometric model parameters, had only a marginal effect on AGB prediction accuracy and precision. Furthermore, we showed that R2 was a poor indicator of model prediction accuracy and precision, due to its sensitivity to changes in D-range. These findings inform certain practical recommendations we report for improving the accuracy and precision of biomass prediction.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: allometric biomass models, tree sample size, aboveground biomass, diameter at breast height, diameter distribution, sampling characteristics.
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2020 08:23
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2022 07:48

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