Calibrating predicted tree diameter distributions in Catalonia, Spain
Several probability density functions have been used in describing the diameter distributions of forest stands. In a case where both the stand basal area and number of stems per hectare are assessed, the fitted or predicted distribution is scaled using only one of these variables, with the result that the distribution often gives incorrect values for the other variable. Using a distribution that provides incorrect values for known characteristics means wasting information. Calibrating the distribution so that it is compatible with the additional information on stand characteristics is a way to avoid such wasting. This study examined the effect of calibration on the accuracy of the predicted diameter distributions of the main tree species of Catalonia. The distributions were calibrated with and without considering the prediction errors of the frequencies of diameter classes. When prediction errors were assumed, the calibration was done with and without making allowance for estimation errors in the stand level calibration variables. Calibrated distributions were more accurate than non-calibrated in terms of sums of different powers of diameters. The set of calibration variables that gave the most accurate results included six stand variables: number of trees per hectare, stand basal area, basal-area-weighted mean diameter, non-weighted mean diameter, median diameter, and basal area median diameter. Of the tested three-variable combinations the best was: number of trees per hectare, stand basal area, and basal-area-weighted mean diameter. Means were more useful calibration variables than medians.
Received 22 November 2005 Accepted 24 May 2006 Published 31 December 2006