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Evaluation of the Barr & Stroud FP15 and Criterion 400 Laser Dendrometers for Measuring Upper Stem Diameters and Heights

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Calibrated Barr & Stroud FP15 and Criterion 400 laser dendrometers were tested for reliability in measuring upper stem diameters and heights under typical field conditions. Data were collected in the Black Hills National Forest, which covers parts of South Dakota and Wyoming in the United States. Mixed effects models were employed to account for differences between users of the dendrometers and to test for significant differences between the heights and diameters measured indirectly (by dendrometer) and directly (by caliper and linear tape). The location at which measurements were taken on each tree was determined by paint marks along the bole. No significant differences between users were found. The Barr & Stroud consistently overestimated diameters by approximately 0.3 cm (0.1 in). Unbiased estimates of diameter were obtained with the Criterion 400. For height measurements, neither the Barr & Stroud nor the Criterion 400 produced unbiased measurements. The effect of distance to the base of the tree and height of the diameter measurement on the variability of the measurements was also studied. As distance increased, the variability of diameter measurements increased for both dendrometers. For the measurement of height, only the Barr & Stroud exhibited an increase in the variability of measurements with increasing distance. After correcting the data for their biases, taper equations were fitted to them and analyzed. The equations generated from the Barr & Stroud were not significantly different from those generated from direct measurement, unlike the Criterion 400 where taper equations generated were statistically different. A brief study of the effects of familiarity with each dendrometer indicated that the measurement error and variability decreased as the user became more familiar with the Criterion. This was not the case for the Barr & Stroud. For. Sci. 45(1):53-61.

Keywords: Mixed effect models; instrument familiarity; taper equation

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Renewable Resources Group, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, USDA Forest Service, 740 Simms, Lakewood, Colorado 80225

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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