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Estimating and Circumventing the Effects of Perturbing and Swapping Inventory Plot Locations

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Abstract:

The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service reports data and information about the Nation's forest resources. Increasingly, users request that FIA data and information be reported and distributed in a geospatial context, and they request access to exact plot locations for their own analyses. However, the FIA program is constrained by law from disclosing exact locations and, instead, releases only approximate locations. The results of the study indicate that the effects of using approximate locations are negligible for design-based estimates for circular areas of radii greater than approximately 20 mi (32 km). For model-based estimates, the results are less definitive and depend on the modeling technique, the spatial resolution of units on which variables are observed, spatial correlation in the variables, and the quality of fit of the model to the data. Several methods for circumventing the effects of the approximate locations are discussed.

Keywords: bias; correlation; environmental management; estimation; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; models; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Group Leader Research and Analysis USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: rmcroberts@fs.fed.us 2: Forester North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: gholden@fs.fed.us 3: Research Forester North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: mdnelson@fs.fed.us 4: Research Physical Scientist North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: gliknes@fs.fed.us 5: Research Forester North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: wkmoser@fs.fed.us 6: Research Forester Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19703, Email: alister@fs.fed.us 7: Operations Research Analyst Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19703, Email: sking01@fs.fed.us 8: Forester Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19703, Email: elapoint@fs.fed.us 9: Research Assistant Professor Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources North Carolina State University, Box 8008, Raleigh NC 27695, Email: jcoulston@fs.fed.us 10: Associate National Program Leader Washington Office USDA Forest Service 1601 North Kent Street Arlington VA 22209, Email: bsmith12@fs.fed.us 11: National Program Leader Washington Office USDA Forest Service 1601 North Kent Street Arlington VA 22209, Email: greams@fs.fed.us

Publication date: 2005-09-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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