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Calibrating a Segmented Taper Equation with Two Diameter Measurements

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Recent advances in laser technology help make possible accurate and affordable measurements of upper-stem diameters. These measurements can be used to calibrate results from a taper equation to improve the accuracy of diameter predictions along the tree bole. Felled-tree data from a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantation were used to evaluate two methods for calibrating outputs from a segmented taper equation with parameters either obtained from the data in this study or originally published by Max and Burkhart (1976, Segmented polynomial regression applied to taper equations, For. Sci. 22:283‐289). For outside-bark diameters, although a simple calibration for dbh gave desirable results, a better calibration involving both dbh and an upper-stem diameter provided significant improvements in predicting tree taper. Results varied depending on where the diameter was measured, with optimum gains obtained when the upper-stem diameter was measured at the midpoint between breast height and the tree tip. For inside-bark diameters, the calibration for inside-bark dbh actually produced inferior predictions, whereas the calibration based on both dbh and an upper-stem diameter offered only modest improvements over the unadjusted predictions.
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Keywords: Pinus taeda; loblolly pine; segmented regression model

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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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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