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Horizontal Line Sampling for Riparian Forests without Land Area Estimation

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Sampling forests in riparian areas presents unique difficulties that can be addressed by judicious application of line sampling. Land areas associated with riparian forests often have highly irregular boundaries, making accurate area determination difficult. Therefore, estimators for total amounts of forest attributes that do not depend on land area are desirable. Such estimators can be obtained by using horizontal line sampling from sample lines that are located at random intervals along a straight baseline and which extend entirely through the riparian area of interest. Horizontal line sampling selects sample trees that subtend an angle whose vertex is located on a length of line. This is conceptually similar to Ståhl's transect relascope sampling (Ståhl, G. 1998. Transect relascope sampling—A method for the quantification of course woody debris. For. Sci. 44:58–63), which estimates total amounts of coarse woody debris from lines established at fixed intervals. Use of a control variate or importance sampling based on predicted line length (where available) is suggested as a variance reduction technique. An unbiased estimator for sampling at intervals along the line is suggested. Monte Carlo integration estimates of riparian land area are proposed for estimation of per-unit area quantities. These estimators could be applied to any forested area but appear to be most well suited to long, relatively narrow riparian areas.

Keywords: Monte Carlo integration; control variate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Thomas B. Lynch, Professor, Department of Forestry, Room 008C Ag Hall, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078—Phone: (405) 744-5447;, Fax: (405) 744-3530, Email:

Publication date: 2006-04-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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