Discussion Paper: Establishing Cause-Effect Relationships using Forest Survey Data
Abstract:The issue of whether Forest Survey data can be used to establish cause-effect relationships is addressed. We discuss analogous situations in other fields of science, where survey data has been useful in establishing cause-effect, as well as some of the statistical theory developed expressly to deal with cause-effect. We conclude that cause-effect may be established, if both the potential cause and effect variables are measured in the Survey provided the variables are measured accurately, estimated properly, and are based on a large enough sample. Otherwise, Forest Survey data can be used, however, to establish growth trends for large areas, suggest and identify potential cause-effect hypotheses, and identify supplemental data sets to be collected to bolster or reject potential hypotheses.
Document Type: Discussion
Affiliations: Research Forester, Institute for Quantitative Studies, USDA Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station, New Orleans, LA
Publication date: December 1, 1991
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