Evaluation of the spatial linear model, random forest and gradient nearest-neighbour methods for imputing potential productivity and biomass of the Pacific Northwest forests Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/6395w8871

To the best of our knowledge, one or more authors of this paper were federal employees when contributing to this work. This is the publisher’s final pdf. The article was published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Institute of Chartered Foresters and is in the public domain. The published article can be found at:  http://forestry.oxfordjournals.org/.

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  • Increasingly, forest management and conservation plans require spatially explicit information within a management or conservation unit. Forest biomass and potential productivity are critical variables for forest planning and assessment in the Pacific Northwest. Their values are often estimated from ground-measured sample data. For unsampled locations, forest analysts and planners lack forest productivity and biomass values, so values must be predicted. Using simulated data and forest inventory and analysis data collected in Oregon and Washington, we examined the performance of the spatial linear model (SLM), random forest (RF) and gradient nearest neighbour (GNN) for mapping and estimating biomass and potential productivity of Pacific Northwest forests. Simulations of artificial populations and subsamplings of forest biomass and productivity data showed that the SLM had smaller empirical root-mean-squared prediction errors (RMSPE) fora wide variety of data types, with generally less bias and better interval coverage than RF and GNN. These patterns held for both point predictions and for population averages, with the SLM reducing RMSPE by 30.0 and 52.6 per cent over two GNN methods in predicting point estimates for forest biomass and potential productivity.
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  • Temesgen, H., & Ver Hoef, J. M. (2015). Evaluation of the spatial linear model, random forest and gradient nearest-neighbour methods for imputing potential productivity and biomass of the Pacific Northwest forests. Forestry, 88(1), 131-142. doi:10.1093/forestry/cpu036
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