Modelling percentile based basal area weighted diameter distribution
In percentile method, percentiles of the diameter distribution are predicted with a system of models. The continuous empirical diameter distribution function is then obtained by interpolating between the predicted values of percentiles. In Finland, the distribution is typically modelled as a basal-area weighted distribution, which is transformed to a traditional density function for applications. In earlier studies it has been noted that when calculated from the basal-area weighted diameter distribution, the density function is decreasing in most stands, especially for Norway spruce. This behaviour is not supported by the data. In this paper, we investigate the reasons for the unsatisfactory performance and present possible solutions for the problem. Besides the predicted percentiles, the problems are due to implicit assumptions of diameter distribution in the system. The effect of these assumptions can be somewhat lessened with simple ad-hoc methods, like increasing new percentiles to the system. This approach does not, however, utilize all the available information in the estimation, namely the analytical relationships between basal area, stem number and diameter. Accounting for these, gives further possibilities for improving the results. The results show, however, that in order to achieve further improvements, it would be recommendable to make the implicit assumptions more realistic. Furthermore, height variation within stands seems to have an important contribution to the uncertainty of some forest characteristics, especially in the case of sawnwood volume.
Received 4 December 2006 Accepted 17 August 2007 Published 31 December 2007