Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Forestry

Major Professor

Donald Hodges

Committee Members

Keith Belli, Tom Brandeis, Tim Young

Abstract

The Tennessee Division of Forestry (TDF) implemented a Continuous Forest Inventory (CFI) system in 2009 for the 15 state forests, encompassing multiple physiographic land types and forest types. The initial design contained plans to measure the plots on five-year intervals. The objectives of the CFI system include: determining the growth by species and forest types for all state forest land, estimating growth models for individual trees in mixed hardwood stands, developing a harvest schedule, and assessing the impact of different silvicultural treatments over time. Following the implementation, the University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries was asked to assess the study. The objectives for this assessment were to: assess the data quality of the initial plot measurements and identify inconsistencies; determine the usefulness of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) in producing accurate estimates of current volume per acre (VPA); and evaluate the current inventory design. In order to produce future growth estimates, an accurate estimate of the current inventory is needed. Known relationships in forestry were used to establish metrics for assessing the quality of the plot measurements. Two estimates of volume were used in this study: Lasher’s equation contained in FVS and the d2H (diameter and height) equation used by FIA. The FVS equation consistently over estimated volume at the acre level and individual tree level. The overall design was determined to be inadequate for providing information by forest type within each state forest. This can be remedied by utilizing stratified samples by delineating each forest by its forest type. The results of this investigation will provide a starting point for improving the work already conducted by the Division in regards to quantifying the current inventory of the Tennessee State Forest system.

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