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Comparing the Use of Three Dendrometers for Measuring Diameters at Breast Height

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Three dendrometers are used to measure dbh. Two of the devices are the well-known and widely used d-tape and caliper. The third device is the lesser-known sector fork. In this study, measurements of dbh were collected from each dendrometer for each tree in nine plots, with each of the three plots nested in one of the diameter classes (small, medium, and large). The results from repeated-measures analysis of variance show that different dendrometers, the interaction between the dendrometer and diameter class, and the interaction between the dendrometer and plot significantly affected the dbh measurements. Statistically significant differences were detected in most of the comparisons of dbh measured by the three dendrometers. However, the actual mean differences and limits of agreement (Bland, J.M., and D.G. Altman. 1986. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet 1:307‐310) were small enough to support the claim that the dbh measurements made by the three dendrometers agree well in measurements of the small and medium trees (in this study, dbh of <16 in.). Thus, these statistically significant differences are not biologically and/or practically important. For the large trees (dbh 16 in. or more), the dbh measured by d-tape and caliper still agreed well. The sector fork should be used cautiously in measuring large trees.
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Keywords: caliper; d-tape; dbh measurement; limits of agreement; repeated-measures analysis of variance; sector fork

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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