iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Height-diameter models for maritime pine in Portugal: a comparison of basic, generalized and mixed-effects models

Esteban Gómez-García (1-2)   , Teresa F Fonseca (2), Felipe Crecente-Campo (1), Luís R Almeida (2), Ulises Diéguez-Aranda (1), Shongming Huang (3), Carlos P Marques (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 72-78 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1520-008
Published: Jun 11, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Tree height is a key variable in forest monitoring studies and for forest management. However, tree height measurement is time consuming, and the recommended procedure is to use estimates from height-diameter models. Here, we compare height-diameter model forms and approaches for predicting tree height (h) as a function of tree diameter at breast height (d) and additional stand level covariates. Four model forms were evaluated: (i) basic models (which only used d as predictor variable); (ii) generalized models (which used d and stand-level predictor variables); (iii) a mixed-effects model based on the best basic model; and (iv) a mixed-effects model based on the best generalized model. Several alternatives aimed at minimizing height measurement effort were tested in terms of accuracy and applicability. From a practical point of view, the selected generalized model is recommended for estimating the height of maritime pine in Portugal. The results also show that a calibrated basic mixed model provides more accurate results than a basic model locally fitted when the number of h-d observations is limited.


Pinus pinaster Ait., Sampling Design, Local Model, Stand Variables, Generalized h-d Relationship, Calibration

Authors’ address

Esteban Gómez-García
Felipe Crecente-Campo
Ulises Diéguez-Aranda
Departamento de Ingeniería Agroforestal, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Escuela Politécnica Superior, R/ Benigno Ledo, Campus universitario, E-27002 Lugo (Spain)
Esteban Gómez-García
Teresa F Fonseca
Luís R Almeida
Carlos P Marques
Department of Forest Sciences and Landscape Architecture, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Apartado 1013, 5001-801 Vila Real (Portugal)
Shongming Huang
Forest Management Branch, Alberta Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development, 8th Floor, 9920-108 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4 (Canada)

Corresponding author

Esteban Gómez-García


Gómez-García E, Fonseca TF, Crecente-Campo F, Almeida LR, Diéguez-Aranda U, Huang S, Marques CP (2015). Height-diameter models for maritime pine in Portugal: a comparison of basic, generalized and mixed-effects models. iForest 9: 72-78. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1520-008

Academic Editor

Vicente Rozas

Paper history

Received: Dec 02, 2014
Accepted: Mar 04, 2015

First online: Jun 11, 2015
Publication Date: Feb 21, 2016
Publication Time: 3.30 months

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