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Selecting a Level of Conditioning for the Segmented Polynomial Taper Equation

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Using tree data collected from loblolly pine thinning study plots, different levels of conditioning were examined for the segmented polynomial taper equation presented by Max and Burkhart (1976). An eight-parameter model with minimum constraints (diameter at the tip of a tree is zero and the adjacent functions are continuous at the join points) did not perform better than a six-parameter model with an additional smoothness constraint in terms of fit and predictive ability.

The join points where the adjacent segments of a tree meet, the inflection points, were assumed known to further reduce the number of parameters in the model. A four-parameter model with inflection points at 11 and 75% of total tree height was slightly superior to the six- and eight-parameter models in estimating tree diameters. The fit statistics and predictive ability of the model were not sensitive to the lower and upper inflection points in the range of 9–12% and 70–80%, respectively. For. Sci. 49(2):324–330.

Keywords: Pinus taeda; Tree volume; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; mensuration; natural resource management; natural resources; segmented regression; tree taper

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Research Scientist Forintek Canada Corp., 319 rue Franquet, Sainte-Foy, QC, Canada, G1P 4R4, Phone: (418) 659-2647; Fax: (418) 659-2922 2: University Distinguished Professor Department of Forestry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, Phone: (540) 231-5483; Fax: (540) 231-3698

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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