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Determining Girard Form Class in Central Hardwoods

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Girard form class is widely used to describe tree form. Tree volume estimates change about 3% per unit change of Girard form class (Mesavage and Girard 1946). Hardwoods growing in close proximity have been observed to have a wide range in Girard form class. Accurate determination of Girard form class can therefore be important in getting accurate estimates of hardwood timber volume. However, the cost of estimating Girard form class for every tree being measured in the stand would be prohibitively expensive. Thus, estimation of average Girard form class for a stand is considered here. Three instruments used to estimate Girard form class--a Wheeler pentaprism optical caliper, a wedge prism, and a Spiegel relaskop--were compared to direct measurement. Number of sample trees to achieve desired half-widths of the confidence interval of ±1 and ±1 1/2 units of Girard form class was calculated for each method. Direct measurement requires the fewest trees to achieve the desired results. However, it requires considerably more time per tree than any of the instruments tested. The Wheeler pentaprism requires only a few more trees than direct measurement, and considerably fewer trees than either the wedge prism or the Spiegel relaskop. Use of all three instruments is hindered when understory vegetation obscures the top of the first log. North. J. Appl. For. 14(4):202-206.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Jack D. Leake, Jr. Co., Consulting Foresters, P.O. Box 637, Collierville, TN 38017

Publication date: December 1, 1997

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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