Skip to main content

Field Note—Comparison of Three Dendrometers in Measuring Diameter at Breast Height Field Note

Buy Article:

$29.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Three dendrometers—d-tape, calipers, and Biltmore stick—were used to measure diameter at breast height (dbh), and discrepancies that occurred among these instruments were compared. Three methods of dbh estimation with calipers—the quadratic, arithmetic, and geometric mean of the major and minor axis diameter—were compared. Trees were grouped into four broad dbh classes of 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20 in. and three species—northern red oak, sugar maple, and white ash—to determine the effect of tree size and species on discrepancies. The d-tape consistently recorded a larger dbh than the three caliper methods, but was not statistically different nor practically important. The differences in recorded dbh between the d-tape and calipers increased with tree size and were similar among northern red oak and sugar maple trees, but dbh differences in white ash trees were significantly less than in the other two species. The Biltmore stick's accuracy in classifying trees into the same dbh class as determined by the d-tape decreased as tree size increased. When examined by species, the Biltmore stick was less accurate in this regard with northern red oak and most accurate with sugar maple. Because the geometric principle of the d-tape assumes a tree to have a circular shape, its diameter estimation and subsequent basal area will usually be greater than the true diameter and area. The use of calipers reduces this bias, but the differences are not statistically significant.

Keywords: Biltmore stick; Calipers; d-tape; dbh measurement

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Columbus Wood Products, 1165 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH, 43212-1162 2: School of Natural Resources, 210 Kottman Hall, The Ohio State University, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH, 43210-1085

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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.
  • Membership Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more