European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 145–157 | Cite as

Statistical mapping of tree species over Europe

  • D. J. BrusEmail author
  • G. M. Hengeveld
  • D. J. J. Walvoort
  • P. W. Goedhart
  • A. H. Heidema
  • G. J. Nabuurs
  • K. Gunia
Original Paper


In order to map the spatial distribution of twenty tree species groups over Europe at 1 km × 1 km resolution, the ICP-Forest Level-I plot data were extended with the National Forest Inventory (NFI) plot data of eighteen countries. The NFI grids have a much smaller spacing than the ICP grid. In areas with NFI plot data, the proportions of the land area covered by the tree species were mapped by compositional kriging. Outside these areas, these proportions were mapped with a multinomial multiple logistic regression model. A soil map, a biogeographical map and bioindicators derived from temperature and precipitation data were used as predictors. Both methods ensure that the predicted proportions are in the interval [0,1] and sum to 1. The regression predictions were iteratively scaled to the National Forest Inventory statistics and the Forest map of Europe. The predicted proportions for the twenty tree species were validated by the Bhattacharryya distance between predicted and observed proportions at 230 plot data separated from the calibration data. Besides, the map with the predicted dominant species was validated by computing the error matrix. The median Bhattacharryya distance in the subarea with NFI plot data was 1.712, whereas in the subarea with ICP-Level-I data, this was 2.131. The scaling did not significantly decrease the Bhattacharryya distance. The estimated overall accuracy of this map was 43%. In areas with NFI plot data, overall accuracy was 57%, outside these areas 33%. This gain was mainly attributable to the much denser plot data, less to the prediction method.


Logistic regression Kriging Map validation Bhattacharryya distance Confusion matrix Overall accuracy 



This project was carried out within the framework of European FP5 projects CARBO-Europe IP and EFORWOOD IP. We are greatly indebted to the Forest Focus programme and the National Forest Inventory institute’s correspondents. NFI plot data were received from Jacques Rondeux and Martine Waterinckx, Belgium; Juro Cavlovic, Croatia; Veiko Aderman, Estonia; Kari Korhonen, Finland; Thierry Bélouard, France; Heino Polley, Germany; Marino Vignoli, Remo Bertani, Giorgio Dalmasso and Maurizio Teobaldelli, Italy; Andrius Kuliesis, Lithuania; Wim Daamen and Henny Schoonderwoerd, Netherlands; Stein Tomter, Norway; Susanna Barreiro and Margarida Tomé, Portugal; Olivier Bouriaud, Romania; Vladimir Seben, Slovak Republic; Gal Kusar, Slovenia; J. Villanueva and Antoni Trasobar, Spain; Göran Kempe, Sweden; Bill Mason and Shona Cameron, United Kingdom; Igor Buksha, Ukraine. Finally, we like to thank an anonymous reviewer for his expert comments on the statistics, and the suggestion to use Bhattacharryya distance for validation.

Supplementary material

10342_2011_513_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 4920 kb)
10342_2011_513_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (1000 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 1000 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Brus
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. M. Hengeveld
    • 1
  • D. J. J. Walvoort
    • 1
  • P. W. Goedhart
    • 2
  • A. H. Heidema
    • 1
  • G. J. Nabuurs
    • 1
    • 3
  • K. Gunia
    • 3
  1. 1.AlterraWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.BiometrisWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.European Forest InstituteJoensuuFinland

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