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Research article2016Peer reviewed

Improving the precision of sample-based forest damage inventories through two-phase sampling and post-stratification using remotely sensed auxiliary information

Roberge, Cornelia; Wulff, Sören; Reese, Heather; Ståhl, Göran


Many countries have a national forest inventory (NFI) designed to produce statistically sound estimates of forest parameters. However, this type of inventory may not provide reliable results for forest damage which usually affects only small parts of the forest in a country. For this reason, specially designed forest damage inventories are performed in many countries, sometimes in coordination with the NFIs. In this study, we evaluated a new approach for damage inventory where existing NFI data form the basis for two-phase sampling for stratification and remotely sensed auxiliary data are applied for further improvement of precision through post-stratification. We applied Monte Carlo sampling simulation to evaluate different sampling strategies linked to different damage scenarios. The use of existing NFI data in a two-phase sampling for stratification design resulted in a relative efficiency of 50 % or lower, i.e., the variance was at least halved compared to a simple random sample of the same size. With post-stratification based on simulated remotely sensed auxiliary data, there was additional improvement, which depended on the accuracy of the auxiliary data and the properties of the forest damage. In many cases, the relative efficiency was further reduced by as much as one-half. In conclusion, the results show that substantial gains in precision can be obtained by utilizing auxiliary information in forest damage surveys, through two-phase sampling, through post-stratification, and through the combination of these two approaches, i.e., post-stratified two-phase sampling for stratification.


Forest damage inventory; Forest health monitoring; Monte Carlo simulation; Post-stratification; Remote sensing auxiliary information; Sweden

Published in

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
2016, Volume: 188, number: 4, article number: 213
Publisher: SPRINGER