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Estimating and Circumventing the Effects of Perturbing and Swapping Inventory Plot Locations

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The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service reports data and information about the Nation's forest resources. Increasingly, users request that FIA data and information be reported and distributed in a geospatial context, and they request access to exact plot locations for their own analyses. However, the FIA program is constrained by law from disclosing exact locations and, instead, releases only approximate locations. The results of the study indicate that the effects of using approximate locations are negligible for design-based estimates for circular areas of radii greater than approximately 20 mi (32 km). For model-based estimates, the results are less definitive and depend on the modeling technique, the spatial resolution of units on which variables are observed, spatial correlation in the variables, and the quality of fit of the model to the data. Several methods for circumventing the effects of the approximate locations are discussed.
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Keywords: bias; correlation; environmental management; estimation; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; models; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Group Leader Research and Analysis USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: [email protected] 2: Forester North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: [email protected] 3: Research Forester North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: [email protected] 4: Research Physical Scientist North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: [email protected] 5: Research Forester North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108, Email: [email protected] 6: Research Forester Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19703, Email: [email protected] 7: Operations Research Analyst Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19703, Email: [email protected] 8: Forester Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19703, Email: [email protected] 9: Research Assistant Professor Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources North Carolina State University, Box 8008, Raleigh NC 27695, Email: [email protected] 10: Associate National Program Leader Washington Office USDA Forest Service 1601 North Kent Street Arlington VA 22209, Email: [email protected] 11: National Program Leader Washington Office USDA Forest Service 1601 North Kent Street Arlington VA 22209, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 September 2005

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