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Mean species cover: a harmonized indicator of shrub cover for forest inventoriesAuthor(s): Iciar Alberdi; Sonia Condés; Ronald E. Mcroberts; Susanne Winter
Source: European Journal of Forest Research
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
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DescriptionBecause shrub cover is related to many forest ecosystem functions, it is one of the most relevant variables for describing these communities. Nevertheless, a harmonized indicator of shrub cover for large-scale reporting is lacking. The aims of the study were threefold: to define a shrub indicator that can be used by European countries for harmonized shrub cover estimation using data from their respective national forest inventories (NFIs); to quantify the effects of using different NFI field cover scales; and to establish bridges to facilitate harmonized estimation. Data for shrub species cover from the Third Spanish NFI together with scales for cover assessment from 16 European NFIs were used. The indicator, mean species cover (MSC), was defined for each species and each European forest category. Estimates of MSC calculated using species covers recorded for field plots, with 1% interval widths (MSCobs), were compared with the MSC values that would be obtained for the same data with the different European cover scales (MSCpred). Residuals calculated as differences between MSCobs and MSCpred were analyzed, and a linear mixed model was used as bridging function to adjust predictions and thus further harmonize estimates. Scales with only two or three intervals produced the greatest residuals, while all the other analyzed scales had residuals less than 5%. Most scales, except those most similar to Braun-Blanquet, displayed a tendency to be unreliable for larger covers. The proposed mean species cover indicator provides comparable estimates for shrub communities at large scales. The linear models improved the harmonization of MSC for the scales having two and three intervals.
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CitationAlberdi, Iciar; Condés, Sonia; Mcroberts, Ronald E.; Winter, Susanne. 2018. Mean species cover: a harmonized indicator of shrub cover for forest inventories. European Journal of Forest Research. 137(3): 265-278. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-018-1110-7.
KeywordsVegetation, National forest inventories, Braun-Blanquet cover scale, European forest categories, Bridge function, Linear mixed model
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