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Application of shadow fraction models for estimating attributes of northern boreal forests

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A shadow fraction method was developed previously for mapping forest attributes of northern black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.) forests. This paper evaluates application of the method for (i) balsam fir stands (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), (ii) stands with higher volume and biomass than those of previous studies, and (iii) stands with a higher composition of deciduous trees and steeper slopes. Models developed for new test sites in (i) central Labrador and (ii) western Newfoundland were not statistically different from previous models for biomass, volume, and basal area. Relative root mean square errors (RMSEr) for central Labrador were slightly lower than those found in other test sites (RMSEr: 24%–29%) but higher for western Newfoundland (RMSEr = 37%–43%), attributed to the higher upper limit of measured attributes and increased presence of deciduous trees. Results suggest that reasonable estimates can be generated for conifer forests of northeastern Canada; however, an alternative solution is needed where mixed and deciduous stands are prevalent. Measurement of ground plots over a wider range of species composition and forest structure is recommended for broader application to northern boreal forests and to further assess the potential role of the shadow fraction method in national-scale inventory programs.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre d’Applications et de Recherches en Télédétection (CARTEL), Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada. 2: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service – Atlantic Forestry Centre, University Drive, P.O. Box 960, Corner Brook, NL A2H 6J3, Canada.

Publication date: September 17, 2012

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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