Canadian Forest Service Publications

A variance-covariance structure to take into account repeated measurements and heteroscedasticity in growth modeling. 2007. Fortin, M.; Daigle, G.; Ung, C.-H.; Bégin, J.; Archambault, L. Eur. J. For. Res. 126: 573-585.

Year: 2007

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 27698

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

Abstract

This study proposes a within-subject variance-covariance (VC) structure to take into account repeated measurements and heteroscedasticity in a context of growth modeling. The VC structure integrates a variance function and a continuous autoregressive covariance structure. It was tested on a nonlinear growth model parameterized with data from permanent sample plots. Using a stand-level approach, basal area growth was independently modeled for red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) and balsam fir [Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.] in mixed stands. For both species, the implementation of the VC structure significantly improved the maximum likelihood of the model. In both cases, it efficiently accounted for heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation, since the normalized residuals no longer exhibited departures from the assumptions of independent error terms with homogeneous variances. Moreover, compared with traditional nonlinear least squares (NLS) models, models parameterized with this VC structure may generate more accurate predictions when prior information is available. This case study demonstrates that the implementation of a VC structure may provide parameter estimates that are consistent with asymptotically unbiased variances in a context of nonlinear growth modeling using a stand-level approach. Since the variances are no longer biased, the hypothesis tests performed on the estimates are valid when the number of observations is large.

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