Analysis of two alternative methods for national forest inventories in northern Europe
A comparison was made between two alternative methods of continuous national forest inventory. In method 1, samples measured annually are taken throughout the country, in method 2 samples are confined to one section of the country each year. The figures are derived from national forest inventories carried out in the North-European countries Finland, Norway and Sweden. Systematic sampling on the ground has been employed without remeasured sample plots. Field work consisted of survey tracts.
For the whole country, method 1 gives results, which are continuously up-to-date, although detailed information requires observation over a period of several years. On an average, the results obtained from method 2 area at least n/2 years old (survey cycle n years). For a specific section of the country, method 1 gives preliminary results already in 1-2 years, but more accurate results are at least n/2 years old. Method 2 gives accurate results every nth year. Thus, method 2 is not always to be recommended, even if the emphasis is laid on regional information and planning.
To gain knowledge of annual timber removals, often necessary in assessing the forest resource situation, stump measurements can be used, either exclusively or by way of control. The corresponding sampling must be affected throughout the whole country, and this can be done only when method 1 is used. Other information required annually, such as estimates of seed crops, occurrence of pests or annual variation of growth due to the climate, favour method 1.
It can be concluded that method 1 has important advantages, although these must be bought at higher costs. A comparison of inventory costs shows, assuming the same degree of accuracy, that the total expenditure for method 2 is 7-8% lower than that for method 1, owing to the difference in transport requirements. Also, other aspects may affect the choice of method, for example, the use of aerial photographs may be arranged more efficiently in method 2.
Published in 1963