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Compatible System for Predicting Total and Merchantable Stem Volume over and under Bark, Branch Volume and Whole-Tree Volume of Pine Species

Corral-Rivas, José Javier, Vega-Nieva, Daniel Jose, Rodríguez-Soalleiro, Roque, López-Sánchez, Carlos Antonio, Wehenkel, Christian, Vargas-Larreta, Benedicto, Álvarez-González, Juan Gabriel, Ruiz-González, Ana Daría
Forests 2017 v.8 no.11
Pinus, autocorrelation, bark, bioenergy, carbon footprint, equations, forests, models, planning, prediction, sustainable forestry, tree trunk, trees, Mexico
Accurate quantification of branch volume in trees is important for sustainable forest management, especially as these fractions are increasingly used for bioenergy, and for precise forest CO<inf>2</inf> quantification. Whereas a large focus has been placed on the compatible estimation of tree taper and bole volume with and without bark, little effort has been made to develop models that allow a simultaneous prediction of these variables together with tree branch volume. In this study, 595 Pinus cooperi trees and 700 Pinus durangensis trees were sampled in pine-oak forests in the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. A compatible system for predicting two segmented taper functions, over and under bark; the corresponding merchantable volumes; coarse branch volume and whole-tree volume was fitted using a modified continuous autoregressive structure to account for autocorrelation. The proposed compatible equations explained more than 97% of the observed variability in diameter over and under bark, volume over and under bark, and total tree volume and more than 64% of the observed variability in branch volume in both species. The method described can theoretically be replicated for any tree species, thus providing a better understanding of the patterns of volume distribution by components, potentially improving carbon accounting system and forest bioenergy planning.