# Canadian Forest Service Publications

Two neighborhood-free plot designs for adaptive sampling of forests. 2016. Yang, H.; Magnussen, S.; Fehrmann, L.; Mundhenk, P.; Kleinn, C. Environ Ecol Stat 23:279–299

**Year:** 2016

**Issued by:**
Pacific Forestry Centre

**Catalog ID:** 37660

**Language:** English

**Availability:** PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site. †

DOI: 10.1007/s10651-015-0339-2

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## Abstract

Adaptive cluster sampling (ACS) has the potential of being superior for sampling rare and geographically clustered populations. However, setting up an efficient ACS design is challenging. In this study, two adaptive plot designs are proposed as alternatives: one for fixed-area plot sampling and the other for relascope sampling (also known as variable radius plot sampling). Neither includes a neighborhood search which makes them much easier to execute. They do, however, include a conditional plot expansion: at a sample point where a predefined condition is satisfied, sampling is extended to a predefined larger cluster-plot or a larger relascope plot. Design-unbiased estimators of population total and its variance are derived for each proposed design, and they are applied to ten artificial and one real tree position maps to estimate density (number of trees per ha) and basal area (the cross-sectional area of a tree stem at breast height) per hectare. The performances—in terms of relative standard error (SE%)—of the proposed designs and their non-adaptive alternatives are compared. The adaptive plot designs were superior for the clustered populations in all cases of equal sample sizes and in some cases of equal area of sample plots. However, the improvement depends on: (1) the plot size factor; (2) the critical value (the minimum number of trees triggering an expansion); (3) the subplot distance for the adapted cluster-plots, and (4) the spatial arrangement of the sampled population. For some spatial arrangements, the improvement is relatively small. The adaptive designs may be particularly attractive for sampling in rare and compactly clustered populations with critical value of 1, subplot distance equal to the diameter of initial circular plots, or plot size factor of 2.5 for an initial basal area factor of 2.

## Plain Language Summary

Adaptive cluster sampling (ACS) has the potential of being superior for sampling rare and geographically clustered populations. This study, evaluates two new adaptive plot designs. Neither includes a neighborhood search which makes them much easier to implement in practice. The adaptive plot designs were superior for clustered populations when sample sizes were equal, and in some cases with equality of sampled areas. For some spatial arrangements of trees, the improvements may be small.