Modeling taper and volume of Sal (Shorea robusta Gaertn. f.) trees in the western Terai region of Nepal
Keywords:Crown characteristics, Non-linear mixed model, Shorea robusta, Taper, Volume
Volume and taper equations are used for estimating timber volume and biomass of a tree. Despite their usefulness, precise and site specific equations are still lacking for commercially important tree species in Nepal. The study was carried out at Chandak Chatiya Mahila Community Forest in Bardia district and Lumbini Collaborative Forest of Saljhandi in Rupandehi district in western Terai of Nepal. A destructive sampling method was used and selected fifteen Sal trees (Shorea robusta Gaertn. f.) from Saljhandi (site 1) and eighteen trees from Bagnaha (site 2) randomly to calibrate an individual tree volume and a stem taper function. At first, a non-linear stem taper function was calibrated using stem diameters outside bark at different heights above ground as response variable and D (diameter at breast height), H (total height), h (height of interest) as predictors. Then, effect of crown characteristics on stem taper was evaluated. As stem HCB (height to crown base) was found to affect stem taper, its usefulness in existing stem volume equation was tested. Empirical relationships between V (stem volume) as a response variable and D, H, HCB and sites in Bardia and Rupandehi districts as predictors were established using a linear mixed modeling approach. Our result showed that, instead of H, use of HCB in stem volume equation increased model prediction accuracy and reduced prediction bias. Applicability of the suggested models for predicting individual S. robusta tree volume and stem taper is discussed.
A Journal of Forestry Information for Nepal
Special Issue No. 4, 2018, Page: 76-83
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