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and marked breast height show statistically significant difference for oak and beech. Negative average values for all measured species suggest that measurers usually slightly overestimated breast height (Table 4). According to Figure 1 it is visible that crosswise diameter differences are mostly within ±2-3 cm (50% difference). Certain trees show difference up to 15 cm in crosswise diameters. At the same time, diameter differences between self-estimated and marked breast height are smaller than crosswise diameter difference. Figure 2 shows that there is almost no trees which are not elliptical with fir having the smallest values.
Diameter measured 10 cm under marked breast height expectedly resulted in statistically significant higher values for all tree species with 0,49 cm on average (Figure 4), and diameters measured 10 cm above marked breast height resulted in lower values being statistically significant for oak, beech and fir (Figure 5). The biggest difference is for oak trees.
When caliper beam was held apart from tree and normal pressure on caliper arms applied, results were -0,12 to -0,26 cm lower and statistically significant compared to readings at correct position (caliper beam on the tree). The similar results were achieved with stronger pressure on the arms but with higher negative values, as expected.
Measurement with arm tips facing up resulted with statistically significant lower average diameter reading for all measured tree species (Table 9). Moreover, Figure 4 shows that in comparison to diameter measured on marked breast height readings on the caliper scale were in range between -1,5 to +0,5cm with extremes ranging from -4 to +2cm respectively.
Differences between measurers were observed on self-estimated breast height and for crosswise diameters on marked breast height. Table 10 and Figure 5 show that diameter differences between measurer 1 and other two measurers have proven to be statistically significant for self-estimated breast height of fir and beech trees (forest stand on sloping ground) where measurer 1 in average measured smaller diameters. Further, with diameters measured on marked breast height, differences were significant between measurer 3 and other two measurers in the way that measurer 3 on average measured larger diameters (Table 11 and Figure 6)
Diameter measurement is the basis for volume estimation of individual trees and stand as well. Therefore, measurement errors have impact on volume estimation, so measurement is subjected to control and sometimes allowable measurement departures are prescribed. Omule (1980) mentions that in Columbia Forest Service allowable errors of 1% for dbh is allowed and Melson et al. (2002) states that allowable dbh errors are ±0,25 cm for trees from 12,5 to 50 cm, ±0,5 cm for trees from 50-100 cm and 0,75 cm for treesfrom 100-150 cm dbh. Measurer responsibility is to perform the measurement according to the rules and with highest possible precision.
As the results show, differences in diameters can be a result of eliptical trees (Table 2, 3 and Figure 1). On tree level, differences sometimes reach 30% of tree diameter (Figure 1). With increase of tree diameter the difference between two crosswise diameters increases as well (Figure 3). Also, measurement under or above actual beast height results in statistically significant positive or negative diameter values.
Results based on measured sample trees show that hornbeam and beech breast height measurement gives a significant difference in crosswise diameters as a result of sloping ground and geographic orientation. Turning the caliper beam towards the plot center can cancel out these measurement errors assuming an adequate sample size. Furthermore, on trees that are to be cut, the breast height should be marked (on the upper side of the slope). In this way measurement error for a single tree level would be reduced. Finally, this research points out the importance of following correct procedures while tree diameter measurement in order to minimize measurement errors which can affect accuracy of measured data.
Key words: diameter at breast height, measurement errors, bias, forest inventory