Canadian Forest Service Publications

Estimation of log volumes: a comparative study. 2015. Li, C.; Barclay, H.; Hans, H.; Sidders, D. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Edmonton, AB. Information Report FI-X-11. 10 p.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Canadian Wood Fibre Centre

Catalog ID: 36459

Language: English

Series: Information Report (CWFC - CFS)

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


Log volume estimation is a central topic in forest science research and forestry practice because accurate estimates are essential for commercial harvesting, sustainable forest management, and conservation. To determine whether the log volume estimates obtained using different commonly used log volume models are consistent, we reviewed major log volume estimation methods and conducted a comparative study using data from six different treatments of a commercial thinning experiment in the Boreal Plains Mixedwood Fibre Initiative project. There were significant differences in the log volume estimates we obtained using the different methods under simulated tree-length harvesting conditions. However, these differences were reduced when the section length of a log was decreased and the stem volume was calculated as the sum of all sections under simulated cut-to-length harvesting conditions, and only minor differences were observed when the section length was decreased below a certain threshold section length.

Plain Language Summary

Estimating log volumes is part of the daily business practices in the forest industry and is fundamental to many research fields in forest sciences (e.g., commercial harvesting, sustainable forest management, and conservation). The accuracy of these estimates could influence the fairness of market trades, as well as some conclusions in scientific research. Many approaches and methods of estimating log volumes have been proposed in the literature. While such diversity offered flexibility, it also presented challenges to users: how does a user select the most appropriate and accurate method for estimating log volume? Most users assume these different methods can provide more or less consistent results. We tested the different methods of estimating log volume to evaluate the consistency of the results. The results from our comparison showed that at the individual tree level, significant differences in log volume estimates were obtained using different methods under simulated tree-length harvesting conditions. However, these differences were reduced under simulated cut-to-length harvesting conditions. Selection of a suitable method of log volume estimation is important, and tree taper-based methods are recommended because they can provide more accurate and consistent results.