The objective of this study was to determine empirically the optimum disk selection protocol when calibrating (1) the dimensional compatible variable-exponent taper equation, (2) the segmented polynomial taper equation, and (3) the modified variable-exponent taper equation, for plantation-grown jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) trees. Analytically, the full data set, consisting of 187 trees randomly selected within 21 jack pine plantations situated within the Canadian Boreal Forest Region, was randomly subdivided into calibration (parameterization) and validation (performance) subsets of approximately equal size. Based on prediction lack-of-fit indices (positional and tree-level absolute and relative mean biases in inside-bark diameter, cross-sectional area and total stem volume), the results indicated that the performance of the dimensional compatible and segmented equations was approximately equivalent among the 16 protocols evaluated (combinations of four above breast-height percentage-height sampling schemes with four below breast-height fixed-height sampling schemes). Conversely, the modified variable-exponent equation was strongly influenced by disk selection protocol, with the 10% sampling intensity combined with disks selected at 0.15, 0.5, 0.9 and 1.3 m being the most efficient. In summary, the results of this study suggest that the empirically derived modified variable-exponent equation was more data sensitive than the functionally derived dimensional compatible and segmented equations, when calibrated for plantation jack pine trees.
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