Interpolating and Extrapolating Information from Periodic Forest Surveys for Annual Greenhouse Gas Reporting
National forest inventories (NFIs) are an important source of data for reporting greenhouse gas emissions and removals for the Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry sector as required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol. A major limitation is that NFI resources are generally not sufficient for producing reliable information on year-to-year variation. Interpolation, extrapolation, smoothing, and/or aggregation of data from several years are therefore needed to comply with the reporting requirements for a specific year. Various methods for accomplishing this task are illustrated and evaluated based on data and experiences from the NFIs of six countries, concentrating on the estimation of the stem volume of living trees as a surrogate for tree biomass. Six main conclusions were drawn: (1) NFI data from the target years only were not sufficient for reliable estimation of annual stock change; (2) changes between whole inventory cycles (typically 5 years) could be estimated with reasonable precision; (3) simple moving average estimators of stock are problematic in the estimation of changes; (4) interpenetrating panel designs with permanent sample plots are desirable from the point of view of inter/extrapolating and change estimation; (5) data on annual growth variation and harvests are important and can be used directly in the default method, which is based on differences between increment and drain; and (6) time gaps between NFI surveys may lead to significant errors in the estimation of stock changes.
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