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Improving wood volume predictions in dry tropical forest in the semi-arid Brazil

Abstract

The volumetric variability of dry tropical forests in Brazil and the scarcity of studies on the subject show the need for the development of techniques that make it possible to obtain adequate and accurate wood volume estimates. In this study, we analyzed a database of thinning trees from a forest management plan in the Contendas de Sincorá National Forest, southwestern Bahia State, Brazil. The data set included a total of 300 trees with a trunk diameter ranging from 5 to 52 cm. Adjustments, validation and statistical selection of four volumetric models were performed. Due to the difference in height values for the same diameter and the low correlation between both variables, we do not suggest models which only use the diameter at breast height (DBH) variable as a predictor because they accommodate the largest estimation errors. In comparing the best single entry model (Hohenald-Krenn) with the Spurr model (best fit model), it is noted that the exclusion of height as a predictor causes the values of 136.44 and 0.93 for Akaike information criterion (AIC) and adjusted determination coefficient (R 2adj ), which are poorer than the second best model (Schumacher-Hall). Regarding the minimum sample size, errors in estimation (root mean square error (RMSE) and bias) of the best model decrease as the sample size increases, especially when a larger number of trees with DBH ≥ 5.0 cm are randomly sampled. Stratified sampling by diameter class produces smaller volume prediction errors than random sampling, especially when considering all trees. In summary, the Spurr and Schumacher-Hall models perform better. These models suggest that the total variance explained in the estimates is not less than 95%, producing reliable forecasts of the total volume with shell. Our estimates indicate that the bias around the average is not greater than 7%. Our results support the decision to use regression methods to build models and estimate their parameters, seeking stratification strategies in diameter classes for the sample trees. Volume estimates with valid confidence intervals can be obtained using the Spurr model for the studied dry forest. Stratified sampling of the data set for model adjustment and selection is necessary, since we find significant results with mean error square root values and bias of up to 70% of the total database.

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks to the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development-CNPq for granting financial support to the project (484260/2013-8).

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Correspondence to Robson B. de Lima.

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de Lima, R.B., Barreto-Garcia, P.A.B., de Paula, A. et al. Improving wood volume predictions in dry tropical forest in the semi-arid Brazil. J. Arid Land 12, 1046–1055 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-020-0082-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-020-0082-x

Keywords

  • volume modeling
  • minimal sample size
  • Caatinga
  • Spurr model
  • forest management