iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Nonlinear mixed model approaches to estimating merchantable bole volume for Pinus occidentalis

SW Bueno-López (1)   , E Bevilacqua (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 5, Issue 5, Pages 247-254 (2012)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0630-005
Published: Oct 24, 2012 - Copyright © 2012 SISEF

Research Articles

The ability to predict cumulative bole volume to any predefined upper stem diameter on a standing tree is essential for estimating current inventory levels and making informed decisions regarding the management of forest resources. Several types of mathematical models have been developed to predict cumulative bole volume, requiring only the collection of low cost data but high accuracy tree measurements. This paper reports on the comparison of a variable-exponent taper model and a volume-ratio model for estimating inside-bark cumulative bole volume to three predefined upper stem diameters using stem analysis data Pinus occidentalis trees in La Sierra, Dominican Republic. Each sampled tree was measured at multiple points on the bole, making observations spatially correlated within the tree. Inference problems due to autocorrelation were addressed by using a nonlinear mixed-effects model fitted by restricted maximum likelihood (REML) and including two random parameter coefficients at tree level in each of the two models tested. Using an independent validation data set, the variable-exponent taper model with two random parameters demonstrated better predictive ability as compared to the volume-ratio model when estimating cumulative bole volume to the three predefined upper stem diameters. The taper model allows flexible volume estimation for the population average as well for specific trees.


Nonlinear Mixed-effects Models, Restricted Maximum Likelihood, Taper Model, Volume-ratio Model, Random Coefficients, Calibration, Pinus occidentalis

Authors’ address

SW Bueno-López
Vicerrectoría de Investigaciones e Innovación, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Autopista Duarte km 1.500, Santiago de los Caballeros (República Dominicana)
E Bevilacqua
State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, 13210 Syracuse (NY - USA)

Corresponding author

SW Bueno-López


Bueno-López SW, Bevilacqua E (2012). Nonlinear mixed model approaches to estimating merchantable bole volume for Pinus occidentalis. iForest 5: 247-254. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0630-005

Academic Editor

Marco Borghetti

Paper history

Received: Sep 07, 2012
Accepted: Oct 01, 2012

First online: Oct 24, 2012
Publication Date: Oct 30, 2012
Publication Time: 0.77 months

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