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A Finite Mixture Model for Characterizing the Diameter Distributions of Mixed-Species Forest Stands

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A finite mixture model is used to describe the diameter distributions of mixed-species forest stands. A three-parameter Weibull function is assumed as the component probability density function in the finite mixture model. Four example plots, each with two species, are selected to demonstrate model fitting and comparison. It appears that the finite mixture model is flexible enough to fit irregular, multimodal, or highly skewed diameter distributions. Compared with traditional methods in which a single Weibull function is fit to either the whole plot or each species component separately, the finite mixture model produces much smaller root mean square error and bias, and fits the entire distribution of the plots with extreme peaks, bimodality, or heavy-tails well. In some cases, a single Weibull function fitted to individual species separately may produce more accurate estimations for the component distributions of the two species than the finite mixture model. The summation of the two independent species results, however, may not produce a better prediction for the entire plot. This study shows that the finite mixture model is a promising alternative method for modeling the diameter distribution of multispecies mixed forest stands. For. Sci. 48(4):653–661.
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Keywords: Weibull function; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; goodness-of-fit test; maximum likelihood; model comparison; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Research Assistant Faculty of Forestry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, One Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY, 13210, Phone: (315) 446-0980 [email protected] 2: Associate Professor Faculty of Forestry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, One Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY, 13210, Phone: (315) 470-6558, Fax: (315) 470-6535 [email protected] 3: Professor Faculty of Forestry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, One Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY, 13210, Phone: (315) 470-6569 [email protected] 4: Project Leader Phone: (603) 868-7666 [email protected] 5: Research Forester Northeastern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Durham, NH, 03824, Phone: (603) 868-7667 [email protected]

Publication date: 2002-11-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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