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A Plotless Density Estimator Based on the Asymptotic Limit of Ordered Distance Estimation Values

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Estimation of tree density from point-tree distances is an attractive option for quick inventory of new sites, but estimators that are unbiased in clustered and dispersed situations have not been found. Noting that bias of an estimator derived from distances to the kth nearest neighbor from a random point tends to decrease with increasing k, a method is proposed for estimating the limit of an asymptotic function through a set of ordered distance estimators. A standard asymptotic model is derived from the limiting case of a clustered distribution. The proposed estimator is evaluated against 13 types of simulated generating processes, including random, clustered, dispersed, and mixed. Performance is compared with ordered distance estimation of the same rank and with fixed-area sampling with the same number of trees tallied. The proposed estimator consistently performs better than ordered distance estimation and nearly as well as fixed-area sampling in all but the most clustered situations. The estimator also provides information regarding the degree of clustering or dispersion.

Keywords: asymptotic estimation; distance sampling; forest inventory; plotless density estimation; point patterns

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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

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

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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