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An Improved Tree Height Measurement Technique Tested on Mature Southern Pines

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Abstract:

Virtually all techniques for tree height determination follow one of two principles: similar triangles or the tangent method. Most people apply the latter approach, which uses the tangents of the angles to the top and bottom and a true horizontal distance to the subject tree. However, few adjust this method for ground slope, tree lean, crown shape, and crown configuration, making errors commonplace. Given documented discrepancies exceeding 30% with current methods, a reevaluation of height measurement is in order. The sine method is an alternative that measures a real point in the crown. Hence, it is not subject to the same assumptions as the similar triangle and tangent approaches. In addition, the sine method is insensitive to distance from tree or observer position and can not overestimate tree height. The advantages of the sine approach are shown with mature southern pines from Arkansas.

Keywords: hypsometer; sine method; tangent method

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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  • 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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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