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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Assessing Deadwood Using Harmonized National Forest Inventory Data

Rondeux, Jacques; Bertini, Roberta; Bastrup-Birk, A; Corona, Piermaria; Latte, Nicolas; McRoberts, R.E.; Ståhl, Göran; Winter, Susanne; Gherardo, Chirici


Deadwood plays an important role in forest ecological processes and is fundamental for the maintenance of biological diversity. Further, it is a forest carbon pool whose assessment must be reported for international agreements dealing with protection and forest management sustainability. Despite wide agreement on deadwood monitoring by national forest inventories (NFIs), much work is still necessary to clarify definitions so that estimates can be directly compared or aggregated for international reporting. There is an urgent need for an international consensus on definitions and agreement on harmonization methods. The study addresses two main objectives: to analyze the feasibility of harmonization procedures for deadwood estimates and to evaluate the impact of the harmonization process based on different definitions on final deadwood estimates. Results are reported for an experimental harmonization test using NFI deadwood data from 9,208 sample plots measured in nine European countries and the United States. Harmonization methods were investigated for volume by spatial position (lying or standing), decay classes, and woody species accompanied by accuracy assessments. Estimates of mean plot volume based on harmonized definitions with minimum length/height of 1 m and minimum diameter thresholds of 10, 12, and 20 cm were on average 3, 8, and 30% smaller, respectively, than estimates based on national definitions. Volume differences were less when estimated for various deadwood categories. An accuracy assessment demonstrated that, on average, the harmonization procedures did not substantially alter deadwood observations (root mean square error 23.17%). FOR. SCI. 58(3):269-283.


reference definitions; bridging functions; deadwood attributes; biodiversity indicator; carbon pool

Published in

Forest Science
2012, volume: 58, number: 3, pages: 269-283

Authors' information

Rondeux, Jacques
University of Liège
Bertini, Roberta
University of Florence
Bastrup-Birk, A
Corona, Piermaria
University of Tuscia
Latte, Nicolas
University of Liège
McRoberts, R.E.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Winter, Susanne
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Gherardo, Chirici

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

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