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    Author(s): Matteo Mura; Ronald E. McRoberts; Gherardo Chirici; Marco Marchetti
    Date: 2016
    Source: Remote Sensing of Environment
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    Forest structural diversity plays a major role for forest management, conservation and restoration and is recognized as a fundamental aspect of forest biodiversity. The assessment, maintenance and restoration of a diversified forest structure have become major foci in the effort to preserve forest ecosystems from loss of biological diversity. However, the assessment of forest biodiversity is difficult because it involves multiple components and is characterized using multiple variables. The objective of the study was to develop a methodological approach for predicting, mapping, and constructing a statistical inference for a multiple-variable index of forest structural diversity. The method included three key components: (i) use of the k-NearestNeighbors (k-NN) technique, field plot data, and airborne laser scanning metrics to predict multiple forest structural diversity variables simultaneously, (ii) incorporation of multiple diversity variable predictions into a single index, and (iii) construction of a statistically rigorous inference for the population mean of the index. Three structural diversity variables were selected to illustrate the method: growing stock volume and the standard deviations of tree diameter at breast-height and tree height. Optimization of the k-NN technique produced mean relative deviations less in absolute value than 0.04 for predictions for each of the three structural diversity variables, R2 values between 0.50 and 0.66which were in the range of values reported in the literature, and a confidence interval for the population mean of the index whose half-width was approximately 5% of the mean. Finally, the spatial pattern depicted in the resulting map of forest structural diversity for the study area contributed to validating the proposed method.

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    Mura, Matteo; McRoberts, Ronald E.; Chirici, Gherardo; Marchetti, Marco. 2016. Statistical inference for forest structural diversity indices using airborne laser scanning data and the k-Nearest Neighbors technique. Remote Sensing of Environment. 186: 678-686.


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    Bootstrap variance, Optimization, Multivariate

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