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Biometric research as experimental method in science

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Forest sustainability.
    1. Frameworks for sustainability assessments.
    2. National forest inventories.
    3. Design and analyses.
  3. Data delivery.
    1. Internet access.
    2. Plot Integrity and data privacy.
  4. Summary.

Any discussion of research in a scienti?c ?eld is subject to caveats because research must of necessity be less de?nitive than a discussion of the ?eld's established operational practices. First, enumerations of current research topics will be dated and subject to the perspective of the enumerator. Second, the focus of research change quickly and is subject to funding and societal priorities, perceptions of issues that demand immediate attention, and technical and technological advances. Finally, research, by de?nition, indicates that ?nal solutions have not been achieved and that results may only be reported as preliminary or as works in progress. Thus, this assessment of biometric research in forest inventory should be considered a static summary in a rapidly changing discipline. Given these caveats, current biometric research in forest inventory is focused in three major areas: forest sustainability, data delivery, and spatial estimation. With respect to forest sustainability, regional, national, and international public constituencies seek assessments of the effects on forest resources of forest management practices and environmental changes.

[...] The biometric research challenge is to do so in the most timely and user-friendly manner that preserves the utility of the data while simultaneously accommodating integrity, privacy, and disclosure requirements. SUMMARY The biometric research challenges in forest inventory are many, vary by program, and change over time. Research challenges were discussed in three topic areas: forest sustainability, data delivery, and spatial estimation. In the area of forest sustainability, the challenges are to integrate sampling designs for variables providing information on the health of the forest with traditional inventory sampling designs and to develop estimation methods that permit precise estimates for temporal trends in the variables using data from a sparse spatial array of plots. [...]

[...] In addition, because of the substantial additional cost of obtaining observations for these variables, the number of plots with the additional observations per unit area is substantially less than for traditional inventory plots; for the FIA program of the US Forest Service, the ratio is approximately 1 : 16. Thus, in order to relieve analysts and users from having to choose between only moderately precise regional estimates or imprecise estimates for smaller areas, biometric research must focus on developing methods for increasing the precision of estimates of the current status and change in these variables. [...]

[...] of large-scale estimates of forest attributes such as area, volume, and species distribution and temporal changes in these attributes with the objective of answering the question, much?' Increasingly, however, forest inventory clients are also asking the question, ?Where?' Answering the latter question requires spatial extensions of inventory plot information across the landscape. Thus, this article focuses on three biometric research topics: forest sustainability, data delivery, and spatial estimation. A vision for forest inventory that simultaneously addresses all three topics is also outlined. [...]

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