Critical length sampling: A method to estimate the volume of downed coarse woody debris.



In this paper, critical length sampling for estimating the volume of downed coarse woody debris is presented. Using this method, the volume of downed wood in a stand can be estimated by summing the critical lengths of down logs included in a sample obtained using a relascope or wedge prism; typically, the instrument should be tilted 90° from its usual orientation in sampling live trees. The critical length of a downed tree is the length of the log section large enough in diameter to be counted from the selected sample point. A simulation study was conducted to compare critical length sampling with diameter relascope sampling and perpendicular distance sampling. For the population studied, diameter relascope sampling tended to have the smallest variance but exhibited a small design-bias. By combining critical length sampling with critical height sampling-a method previously described for estimating the volume of standing trees-the total volume of dead wood in a stand can be estimated using the same basic principle. One use of the combined method might be in rapid in-place inventories where a quick estimate of the volume of dead wood is needed for biodiversity management purposes. The combined critical length/height method provides a relatively simple means for obtaining such estimates.

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European Journal of Forest Research



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