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Assessing Deadwood Using Harmonized National Forest Inventory Data

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Deadwood plays an important role in forest ecological processes and is fundamental for the maintenance of biological diversity. Further, it is a forest carbon pool whose assessment must be reported for international agreements dealing with protection and forest management sustainability. Despite wide agreement on deadwood monitoring by national forest inventories (NFIs), much work is still necessary to clarify definitions so that estimates can be directly compared or aggregated for international reporting. There is an urgent need for an international consensus on definitions and agreement on harmonization methods. The study addresses two main objectives: to analyze the feasibility of harmonization procedures for deadwood estimates and to evaluate the impact of the harmonization process based on different definitions on final deadwood estimates. Results are reported for an experimental harmonization test using NFI deadwood data from 9,208 sample plots measured in nine European countries and the United States. Harmonization methods were investigated for volume by spatial position (lying or standing), decay classes, and woody species accompanied by accuracy assessments. Estimates of mean plot volume based on harmonized definitions with minimum length/height of 1 m and minimum diameter thresholds of 10, 12, and 20 cm were on average 3, 8, and 30% smaller, respectively, than estimates based on national definitions. Volume differences were less when estimated for various deadwood categories. An accuracy assessment demonstrated that, on average, the harmonization procedures did not substantially alter deadwood observations (root mean square error 23.17%).
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Keywords: biodiversity indicator; bridging functions; carbon pool; deadwood attributes; reference definitions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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.

    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
    Other SAF Publications
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