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Reliability of tomographic image to represent variation in stem wood properties assessed using confusion matrix metrics

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The intrinsic benefits of the urban greenery are undeniable, but the lack of planning of the urban forestry has created a great liability for its population. To guarantee environmental preservation with risk reduction, one must invest in research that evaluates the accuracy of technological tools that have been used in tree inspection, the results of which are used for the decision-making on urban tree management. One of these tools is ultrasonic tomography, frequently used to infer the internal condition of the stem. This research aimed to evaluate, using metrics (accuracy, precision, and sensitivity) of the confusion matrix, the quality of the image generated by tomography using conventional ultrasound equipment. For the study, disks of the species Cenostigma pluviosum (Sibipiruna) were used. They were analyzed considering different regions (heartwood and sapwood) and conditions (deterioration and cavities). Masks representative of these different regions and conditions of the wood were compared to tomographic images. In addition, average values ​​of density and stiffness obtained in each region and condition were also used to validate the representation indicated in the tomographic image. Although ultrasonic tomography does not represent exactly the position and size of the internal regions of the trunk (cavities, deteriorations, heartwood, and sapwood), the accuracy (greater than 85%) and coherence with density and stiffness were sufficient to indicate its suitability as support for tree risk assessment.

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taken from areas of sapwood, heartwood, and with biodeterioration

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The authors thank CAPES (Proc. 001) for the scholarship and CNPq (Proc. 426130 / 2018-9) for funding the research. We also thank scholarship holder Carlos Eduardo Bento for all the support in the laboratory tests.


This research was supported by PhD scholarship from Coordination of Improvement of Higher Level Personnel (CAPES—Proc. 001) and financial support from National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq—Proc. 426130/2018–9).

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MNR: Conducting and leadership the general tests, participation in discussion of the results, preparation of the preliminary version of the manuscript. RG: Conceptualization of the idea and formulation of the research goals and aims, discussion of the results and statistical analysis, critical review of the manuscript, general supervision, and acquisition of the financial support for the research. SB: Conducting and leadership the macro- and microscopic characterization of wood, discussion of the results, critical review of the manuscript. SSAP: Participation in tomographic tests and in discussion of the results. RGFNBP: Participation in microscopic characterization of wood and discussion of the results.

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Correspondence to Raquel Gonçalves.

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dos Reis, M. ., Gonçalves, R., Brazolin, S. et al. Reliability of tomographic image to represent variation in stem wood properties assessed using confusion matrix metrics. Wood Sci Technol 56, 921–945 (2022).

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