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Evaluating kriging as a tool to improve moderate resolution maps of forest biomass

Posted date: November 07, 2007
Publication Year: 
2007
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous Publication
Source: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 128(1-3): 395-410.

Abstract

The USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program (FIA) recently produced a nationwide map of forest biomass by modeling biomass collected on forest inventory plots as nonparametric functions of moderate resolution satellite data and other environmental variables using Cubist software. Efforts are underway to develop methods to enhance this initial map. We explored the possibility of modeling spatial structure to make such improvements. Spatial structure in the field biomass data as well as in residuals from the map was investigated across 18 ecological zones in the Interior Western U.S. Exploratory tools included directional graphs of summary statistics, three dimensional maps, Moran_s I correlograms, and variograms. Where spatial pattern was present, field and residual biomass were kriged, and predictions made for an independent test set were evaluated for improvement over predictions in the initial biomass map. While kriging has some potential benefit when analyzing the field data and exploring spatial structure, kriging residuals resulted in little or no improvement in the initial biomass map developed using Cubist software. Stationarity assumptions, variogram behavior, and appropriate model fitting strategies are discussed.

Citation

Freeman, Elizabeth A.; Moisen, Gretchen G. 2007. Evaluating kriging as a tool to improve moderate resolution maps of forest biomass. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 128(1-3): 395-410.