Field methods for sampling tree height for tropical forest biomass estimation

Martin J.P. Sullivan*, Simon L. Lewis, Wannes Hubau, Lan Qie, Timothy R. Baker, Lindsay F. Banin, Jerôme Chave, Aida Cuni-Sanchez, Ted R. Feldpausch, Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez, Eric Arets, Peter Ashton, Jean François Bastin, Nicholas J. Berry, Jan Bogaert, Rene Boot, Francis Q. Brearley, Roel Brienen, David F.R.P. Burslem, Charles de Canniere & 29 others Markéta Chudomelová, Martin Dančák, Corneille Ewango, Radim Hédl, Jon Lloyd, Jean Remy Makana, Yadvinder Malhi, Beatriz S. Marimon, Ben Hur Marimon Junior, Faizah Metali, Sam Moore, Laszlo Nagy, Percy Nuñez Vargas, Colin A. Pendry, Hirma Ramírez-Angulo, Jan Reitsma, Ervan Rutishauser, Kamariah Abu Salim, Bonaventure Sonké, Rahayu S. Sukri, Terry Sunderland, Martin Svátek, Peter M. Umunay, Rodolfo Vasquez Martinez, Ronald R.E. Vernimmen, Emilio Vilanova Torre, Jason Vleminckx, Vincent Vos, Oliver L. Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quantifying the relationship between tree diameter and height is a key component of efforts to estimate biomass and carbon stocks in tropical forests. Although substantial site-to-site variation in height-diameter allometries has been documented, the time consuming nature of measuring all tree heights in an inventory plot means that most studies do not include height, or else use generic pan-tropical or regional allometric equations to estimate height. Using a pan-tropical dataset of 73 plots where at least 150 trees had in-field ground-based height measurements, we examined how the number of trees sampled affects the performance of locally derived height-diameter allometries, and evaluated the performance of different methods for sampling trees for height measurement. Using cross-validation, we found that allometries constructed with just 20 locally measured values could often predict tree height with lower error than regional or climate-based allometries (mean reduction in prediction error = 0.46 m). The predictive performance of locally derived allometries improved with sample size, but with diminishing returns in performance gains when more than 40 trees were sampled. Estimates of stand-level biomass produced using local allometries to estimate tree height show no over- or under-estimation bias when compared with biomass estimates using field measured heights. We evaluated five strategies to sample trees for height measurement, and found that sampling strategies that included measuring the heights of the ten largest diameter trees in a plot outperformed (in terms of resulting in local height-diameter models with low height prediction error) entirely random or diameter size-class stratified approaches. Our results indicate that even limited sampling of heights can be used to refine height-diameter allometries. We recommend aiming for a conservative threshold of sampling 50 trees per location for height measurement, and including the ten trees with the largest diameter in this sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1189
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Volume9
Issue number5
Early online date2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Fingerprint

field method
tropical forests
tropical forest
biomass
sampling
allometry
methodology
tree and stand measurements
prediction

Keywords

  • Above-ground biomass estimation
  • Allometry
  • Carbon stocks
  • Forest inventory
  • Forest structure
  • Sample size

Cite this

Sullivan, M. J. P., Lewis, S. L., Hubau, W., Qie, L., Baker, T. R., Banin, L. F., ... Phillips, O. L. (2018). Field methods for sampling tree height for tropical forest biomass estimation. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(5), 1179-1189. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12962
Sullivan, Martin J.P. ; Lewis, Simon L. ; Hubau, Wannes ; Qie, Lan ; Baker, Timothy R. ; Banin, Lindsay F. ; Chave, Jerôme ; Cuni-Sanchez, Aida ; Feldpausch, Ted R. ; Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela ; Arets, Eric ; Ashton, Peter ; Bastin, Jean François ; Berry, Nicholas J. ; Bogaert, Jan ; Boot, Rene ; Brearley, Francis Q. ; Brienen, Roel ; Burslem, David F.R.P. ; de Canniere, Charles ; Chudomelová, Markéta ; Dančák, Martin ; Ewango, Corneille ; Hédl, Radim ; Lloyd, Jon ; Makana, Jean Remy ; Malhi, Yadvinder ; Marimon, Beatriz S. ; Junior, Ben Hur Marimon ; Metali, Faizah ; Moore, Sam ; Nagy, Laszlo ; Vargas, Percy Nuñez ; Pendry, Colin A. ; Ramírez-Angulo, Hirma ; Reitsma, Jan ; Rutishauser, Ervan ; Salim, Kamariah Abu ; Sonké, Bonaventure ; Sukri, Rahayu S. ; Sunderland, Terry ; Svátek, Martin ; Umunay, Peter M. ; Martinez, Rodolfo Vasquez ; Vernimmen, Ronald R.E. ; Torre, Emilio Vilanova ; Vleminckx, Jason ; Vos, Vincent ; Phillips, Oliver L. / Field methods for sampling tree height for tropical forest biomass estimation. In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 2018 ; Vol. 9, No. 5. pp. 1179-1189.
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abstract = "Quantifying the relationship between tree diameter and height is a key component of efforts to estimate biomass and carbon stocks in tropical forests. Although substantial site-to-site variation in height-diameter allometries has been documented, the time consuming nature of measuring all tree heights in an inventory plot means that most studies do not include height, or else use generic pan-tropical or regional allometric equations to estimate height. Using a pan-tropical dataset of 73 plots where at least 150 trees had in-field ground-based height measurements, we examined how the number of trees sampled affects the performance of locally derived height-diameter allometries, and evaluated the performance of different methods for sampling trees for height measurement. Using cross-validation, we found that allometries constructed with just 20 locally measured values could often predict tree height with lower error than regional or climate-based allometries (mean reduction in prediction error = 0.46 m). The predictive performance of locally derived allometries improved with sample size, but with diminishing returns in performance gains when more than 40 trees were sampled. Estimates of stand-level biomass produced using local allometries to estimate tree height show no over- or under-estimation bias when compared with biomass estimates using field measured heights. We evaluated five strategies to sample trees for height measurement, and found that sampling strategies that included measuring the heights of the ten largest diameter trees in a plot outperformed (in terms of resulting in local height-diameter models with low height prediction error) entirely random or diameter size-class stratified approaches. Our results indicate that even limited sampling of heights can be used to refine height-diameter allometries. We recommend aiming for a conservative threshold of sampling 50 trees per location for height measurement, and including the ten trees with the largest diameter in this sample.",
keywords = "Above-ground biomass estimation, Allometry, Carbon stocks, Forest inventory, Forest structure, Sample size",
author = "Sullivan, {Martin J.P.} and Lewis, {Simon L.} and Wannes Hubau and Lan Qie and Baker, {Timothy R.} and Banin, {Lindsay F.} and Jer{\^o}me Chave and Aida Cuni-Sanchez and Feldpausch, {Ted R.} and Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez and Eric Arets and Peter Ashton and Bastin, {Jean Fran{\cc}ois} and Berry, {Nicholas J.} and Jan Bogaert and Rene Boot and Brearley, {Francis Q.} and Roel Brienen and Burslem, {David F.R.P.} and {de Canniere}, Charles and Mark{\'e}ta Chudomelov{\'a} and Martin Danč{\'a}k and Corneille Ewango and Radim H{\'e}dl and Jon Lloyd and Makana, {Jean Remy} and Yadvinder Malhi and Marimon, {Beatriz S.} and Junior, {Ben Hur Marimon} and Faizah Metali and Sam Moore and Laszlo Nagy and Vargas, {Percy Nu{\~n}ez} and Pendry, {Colin A.} and Hirma Ram{\'i}rez-Angulo and Jan Reitsma and Ervan Rutishauser and Salim, {Kamariah Abu} and Bonaventure Sonk{\'e} and Sukri, {Rahayu S.} and Terry Sunderland and Martin Sv{\'a}tek and Umunay, {Peter M.} and Martinez, {Rodolfo Vasquez} and Vernimmen, {Ronald R.E.} and Torre, {Emilio Vilanova} and Jason Vleminckx and Vincent Vos and Phillips, {Oliver L.}",
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language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "1179--1189",
journal = "Methods in Ecology and Evolution",
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Sullivan, MJP, Lewis, SL, Hubau, W, Qie, L, Baker, TR, Banin, LF, Chave, J, Cuni-Sanchez, A, Feldpausch, TR, Lopez-Gonzalez, G, Arets, E, Ashton, P, Bastin, JF, Berry, NJ, Bogaert, J, Boot, R, Brearley, FQ, Brienen, R, Burslem, DFRP, de Canniere, C, Chudomelová, M, Dančák, M, Ewango, C, Hédl, R, Lloyd, J, Makana, JR, Malhi, Y, Marimon, BS, Junior, BHM, Metali, F, Moore, S, Nagy, L, Vargas, PN, Pendry, CA, Ramírez-Angulo, H, Reitsma, J, Rutishauser, E, Salim, KA, Sonké, B, Sukri, RS, Sunderland, T, Svátek, M, Umunay, PM, Martinez, RV, Vernimmen, RRE, Torre, EV, Vleminckx, J, Vos, V & Phillips, OL 2018, 'Field methods for sampling tree height for tropical forest biomass estimation', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1179-1189. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12962

Field methods for sampling tree height for tropical forest biomass estimation. / Sullivan, Martin J.P.; Lewis, Simon L.; Hubau, Wannes; Qie, Lan; Baker, Timothy R.; Banin, Lindsay F.; Chave, Jerôme; Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; Feldpausch, Ted R.; Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela; Arets, Eric; Ashton, Peter; Bastin, Jean François; Berry, Nicholas J.; Bogaert, Jan; Boot, Rene; Brearley, Francis Q.; Brienen, Roel; Burslem, David F.R.P.; de Canniere, Charles; Chudomelová, Markéta; Dančák, Martin; Ewango, Corneille; Hédl, Radim; Lloyd, Jon; Makana, Jean Remy; Malhi, Yadvinder; Marimon, Beatriz S.; Junior, Ben Hur Marimon; Metali, Faizah; Moore, Sam; Nagy, Laszlo; Vargas, Percy Nuñez; Pendry, Colin A.; Ramírez-Angulo, Hirma; Reitsma, Jan; Rutishauser, Ervan; Salim, Kamariah Abu; Sonké, Bonaventure; Sukri, Rahayu S.; Sunderland, Terry; Svátek, Martin; Umunay, Peter M.; Martinez, Rodolfo Vasquez; Vernimmen, Ronald R.E.; Torre, Emilio Vilanova; Vleminckx, Jason; Vos, Vincent; Phillips, Oliver L.

In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 9, No. 5, 05.2018, p. 1179-1189.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Field methods for sampling tree height for tropical forest biomass estimation

AU - Sullivan, Martin J.P.

AU - Lewis, Simon L.

AU - Hubau, Wannes

AU - Qie, Lan

AU - Baker, Timothy R.

AU - Banin, Lindsay F.

AU - Chave, Jerôme

AU - Cuni-Sanchez, Aida

AU - Feldpausch, Ted R.

AU - Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela

AU - Arets, Eric

AU - Ashton, Peter

AU - Bastin, Jean François

AU - Berry, Nicholas J.

AU - Bogaert, Jan

AU - Boot, Rene

AU - Brearley, Francis Q.

AU - Brienen, Roel

AU - Burslem, David F.R.P.

AU - de Canniere, Charles

AU - Chudomelová, Markéta

AU - Dančák, Martin

AU - Ewango, Corneille

AU - Hédl, Radim

AU - Lloyd, Jon

AU - Makana, Jean Remy

AU - Malhi, Yadvinder

AU - Marimon, Beatriz S.

AU - Junior, Ben Hur Marimon

AU - Metali, Faizah

AU - Moore, Sam

AU - Nagy, Laszlo

AU - Vargas, Percy Nuñez

AU - Pendry, Colin A.

AU - Ramírez-Angulo, Hirma

AU - Reitsma, Jan

AU - Rutishauser, Ervan

AU - Salim, Kamariah Abu

AU - Sonké, Bonaventure

AU - Sukri, Rahayu S.

AU - Sunderland, Terry

AU - Svátek, Martin

AU - Umunay, Peter M.

AU - Martinez, Rodolfo Vasquez

AU - Vernimmen, Ronald R.E.

AU - Torre, Emilio Vilanova

AU - Vleminckx, Jason

AU - Vos, Vincent

AU - Phillips, Oliver L.

PY - 2018/5

Y1 - 2018/5

N2 - Quantifying the relationship between tree diameter and height is a key component of efforts to estimate biomass and carbon stocks in tropical forests. Although substantial site-to-site variation in height-diameter allometries has been documented, the time consuming nature of measuring all tree heights in an inventory plot means that most studies do not include height, or else use generic pan-tropical or regional allometric equations to estimate height. Using a pan-tropical dataset of 73 plots where at least 150 trees had in-field ground-based height measurements, we examined how the number of trees sampled affects the performance of locally derived height-diameter allometries, and evaluated the performance of different methods for sampling trees for height measurement. Using cross-validation, we found that allometries constructed with just 20 locally measured values could often predict tree height with lower error than regional or climate-based allometries (mean reduction in prediction error = 0.46 m). The predictive performance of locally derived allometries improved with sample size, but with diminishing returns in performance gains when more than 40 trees were sampled. Estimates of stand-level biomass produced using local allometries to estimate tree height show no over- or under-estimation bias when compared with biomass estimates using field measured heights. We evaluated five strategies to sample trees for height measurement, and found that sampling strategies that included measuring the heights of the ten largest diameter trees in a plot outperformed (in terms of resulting in local height-diameter models with low height prediction error) entirely random or diameter size-class stratified approaches. Our results indicate that even limited sampling of heights can be used to refine height-diameter allometries. We recommend aiming for a conservative threshold of sampling 50 trees per location for height measurement, and including the ten trees with the largest diameter in this sample.

AB - Quantifying the relationship between tree diameter and height is a key component of efforts to estimate biomass and carbon stocks in tropical forests. Although substantial site-to-site variation in height-diameter allometries has been documented, the time consuming nature of measuring all tree heights in an inventory plot means that most studies do not include height, or else use generic pan-tropical or regional allometric equations to estimate height. Using a pan-tropical dataset of 73 plots where at least 150 trees had in-field ground-based height measurements, we examined how the number of trees sampled affects the performance of locally derived height-diameter allometries, and evaluated the performance of different methods for sampling trees for height measurement. Using cross-validation, we found that allometries constructed with just 20 locally measured values could often predict tree height with lower error than regional or climate-based allometries (mean reduction in prediction error = 0.46 m). The predictive performance of locally derived allometries improved with sample size, but with diminishing returns in performance gains when more than 40 trees were sampled. Estimates of stand-level biomass produced using local allometries to estimate tree height show no over- or under-estimation bias when compared with biomass estimates using field measured heights. We evaluated five strategies to sample trees for height measurement, and found that sampling strategies that included measuring the heights of the ten largest diameter trees in a plot outperformed (in terms of resulting in local height-diameter models with low height prediction error) entirely random or diameter size-class stratified approaches. Our results indicate that even limited sampling of heights can be used to refine height-diameter allometries. We recommend aiming for a conservative threshold of sampling 50 trees per location for height measurement, and including the ten trees with the largest diameter in this sample.

KW - Above-ground biomass estimation

KW - Allometry

KW - Carbon stocks

KW - Forest inventory

KW - Forest structure

KW - Sample size

U2 - 10.1111/2041-210X.12962

DO - 10.1111/2041-210X.12962

M3 - Article

VL - 9

SP - 1179

EP - 1189

JO - Methods in Ecology and Evolution

JF - Methods in Ecology and Evolution

SN - 2041-210X

IS - 5

ER -