Probabilistic sampling and estimation for large-scale assessment of poplar plantations in Northern Italy

Abstract

In the recent decades, growing demand for wood products, combined with efforts to conserve natural forests, has supported a steady increase in the global extent of planted forests. In this paper, a two-phase sampling strategy for large-scale assessment of hybrid poplar plantations in Northern Italy was implemented. The first phase was performed by means of tessellation stratified sampling on high-resolution remotely sensed imagery, covering the survey area by a grid of regular polygons of equal size and randomly and independently selecting one point per quadrat. All the plantations spotted by at least one sample point were selected. In the second phase, we randomly chosen a subset of plantations by stratified sampling that were visited on the ground to collect qualitative and quantitative attributes. The resulting estimates were reliable, and the survey demonstrated relatively easy to be implemented and replicated. These considerations support the use of the proposed sampling strategy to frequently update information on fast-growing forest plantations within agricultural farms, like hybrid poplar crops. Moreover, the results of the case study here presented highlight the relevance of hybrid poplar plantations in Italy, in the context of sustainable development strategies under a green economy perspective.

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Acknowledgements

The study has been financially supported by the project ‘Sviluppo di un sistema di monitoraggio annuale del settore forestale e pioppicolo’ (MONIPOPLAR), funded by Federlegnoarredo, and by the research project ‘Sistema di monitoraggio multiscalare a supporto della pioppicoltura di precisione nella Regione Lombardia’ (PRECISIONPOP) funded by Lombardy Region, Italy, Grant number: E86C18002690002.

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Correspondence to Walter Mattioli.

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Communicated by Arne Nothdurft.

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Corona, P., Chianucci, F., Marcelli, A. et al. Probabilistic sampling and estimation for large-scale assessment of poplar plantations in Northern Italy. Eur J Forest Res 139, 981–988 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-020-01300-9

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Keywords

  • Forest inventory
  • Two-phase sampling
  • Tessellation stratified sampling
  • Populus spp.
  • Hybrid poplar