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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Trade-off analysis of accuracy and spatial resolution in strategic forest planning models Otsu, Kaori


When large areas of forest are modelled, spatial detail can create excessively large databases and adversely affect the processing time. Spatial generalization can be an efficient means of aggregating polygons into blocks in strategic forest planning models. In this study, a sensitivity analysis on spatial generalization was conducted to examine the trade-off between accuracy and spatial resolution to meet the objectives of strategic planning. Five scenarios were designed by generalizing forest cover polygons into the uniform hexagon block sizes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 ha. To quantitatively assess accuracy, deviations caused by spatial generalization were calculated by criteria for hexagon scenarios relative to the base case. Criteria include model inputs (area of natural disturbance type and ungulate winter range) and outputs (harvest volume, growing stock and seral stage distribution). In general, deviations in all criteria increased with the block size. Spatial resolution was also evaluated by the database size and simulation runtime. A negative relationship was observed between spatial resolution and the block size. The trade-off analysis between accuracy and spatial resolution indicated that using the smallest block size of 5 ha creates more detail than necessary. Although scenarios with the block sizes of 50 and 100 ha reduced spatial resolution significantly, the maximum deviations relative to the base case were as high as 14% and 17% in growing stock, 12% and 12% in seral stage distribution, and 6% and 21% in ungulate winter range, respectively. For this study, the preferred block size is in the range of 10-20 ha, however, in general, the preferred block size will vary depending on the importance of each criterion used in the trade-off analysis.

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