Disgrace Butte Lookout, Nezperce Nat. For., 1952


Harry V. Wiant, Jr.

e-mail Harry

CONTENTS (click or scroll down to find topic)

Click for copy of most of my pubs.

Click for dissertation concerning CO2 in the forest & related pubs.

Click for nationwide survey of timber trespass laws.

Click for Elementary Timber Measurements.

Click for How to Estimate the Value of Timber in Your Woodlot.

Click for Forestry Programming Course.

Click for MensiTools

Click for Silviculture of Slash, Longleaf and Shortleaf pine


Global warming secular religion

Cruise07 inventory software

DosAtest, software for testing accuracy

Stump, software for predicting dbh from stump measurements

Optimum, software for estimating cruise time

Introduction to Consulting Forestry


Nationwide Survey Timber Trespass Legislation

Simple Statistical Guide

Simple Inventory Guides

Bootstrap test of 3P sampling error

Liberty BASIC manual for foresters

speech "Stand Up for Forestry"

low-cost GPS/GIS

simple keys to native forest trees

forest inventory software for Palm OS

pc forest inventory software

volume contour maps in cruise reports

MensiCard Approximations

toss BAF 10 prism

web notes..rule of thumb, d-squared

bluegrass & old-time CD by a forestry band

expert witness experience

technical publications

biomass & taper data for WV hardwoods

notes with some wit

3P trespass inventory

too enamored of point sampling?

most intensive & expensive 3P inventory ever?

biographical information

cutting an old-growth redwood & unique slides

useful links



Harry V. Wiant, Jr.

1997 President, Society of American Foresters

This speech, with minor variations, has been presented over two dozen times at SAF and other forestry meetings. I always provide a disclaimer, indicating that the opinions I convey are my own and not necessarily those of SAF.


The Society of American Foresters has been a major part of my professional life, but I had never considered running for a national office. Actually, I was becoming very discouraged . It appeared to me that many foresters were giving up in the struggle for meaningful forest management and were accepting politically correct but scientifically dubious management philosophies. I decided it was time to retire. A call from a well-known leader in our profession, asking me to run for Vice President, changed my life.

While visiting my daughter and son-in-law, both attorneys in Seattle, I wrote my campaign statement expressing forthrightly my concerns and agenda. "Dad, you can't win with a statement like that," my daughter exclaimed. Many were surprised when I did win in one of the largest voter turnouts (52%) in our history.


The philosophy I espouse, and the one that I'm convinced is shared by a majority of foresters in SAF is, briefly:

1. We love the forest but do not worship the forest. There is a world of difference.

2. We believe management of nature is not just an option but a necessity for human survival.

3. We believe biodiversity is a good thing but does not always over-ride other considerations. That's why we use hoes in our vegetable gardens.

4. We believe large segments of the environmental community have moved from legitimate concerns for clean air and water to eco-nonsense which threatens our economic prosperity and basic freedoms.

5. We believe forest management must be science based, and, like medicine, incrementally improved as new facts are learned.

6. We believe the biocentric philosophy undergirding much of the environmental movement today depreciates human beings and could have devastating consequences to our society.

I will expand discussion of some of these "tenants" in later sections.


Foresters generally have a broad education, but their unique knowledge is that relating to growing trees for timber production on a sustained yield basis. Warren Dolittle, a Past President of SAF, wrote in 1966:

"as professional foresters, timber production is the one use of the land which is our undisputed responsibility. We manage forest lands for other uses too, but other groups and scientists usually claim primary responsibility for the disciplines representing these uses. So, let us take good care of our responsibility for growing timber before some other group lays claim to it."

Forestry schools and SAF, when considering membership requirements, accreditation of forestry programs, and certification of foresters, forget Warren's admonition at their own peril.


Ecosystem management, touted as a "paradigm switch" , is more politics than science. Proponents stress that its implementation will require "cooperation" by federal, state, and private landowners. In addition to the likelihood that it will encroach on our freedoms, this approach is hampered by the difficulty of defining and delimiting an ecosystem and the hopeless complexity of trying to manage one if you can figure out what and where it is.

The most serious problem with ecosystem management, in my opinion, is that the inherent complexities and uncertainties will provide our opponents with even more weapons to halt all meaningful forest management, further impacting the timber industry and rural communities.

The idea of returning our forests to some imagined condition in the past, usually severely limiting human influence, is troublesome also. I often say, trying to point out the absurdity of this notion, that I am kind of partial to the ice age. Why don't we return our agricultural lands to a pre-human condition so we can solve all our problems through starvation?


Every forester today should read "In a Dark Wood" by the philosopher, Alston Chase "Broken Trust, Broken Land" by the forester-sociologist Robert G. Lee , and "Saviors of the Earth" by the forester and environmental educator Michael S. Coffman . These authors trace the development of today's biocentric thinking, in many ways a return to primitive earth worship. Chase defines biocentrism as the belief that all things are interconnected (the "circle of life" espoused by New Age folks) and no organism is more important or valuable than another. It is a deadly philosophy dressed up in politically correct sentimentalism.

Karl Wenger, our Vice President, wrote in a letter in the J. For. (Nov. 1996):

"native peoples set the forest afire annually, sometimes twice a year. Then during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, land was heavily logged without regard for the future. Fire followed and woodland grazing was widespread. Wildlife populations were decimated, erosion filled the streams with sediments, and floods were frequent and damaging. That current land management practices are threatening or endangering 1,300 species of the survivors of that period, as claimed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is simply not believable." He is absolutely right!


Someone must produce! We cannot just trade trinkets produced in the "Cottage Industries" promoted by our eco-friends. In my speech, I point out here that the lights on in our meeting room are on because someone dug coal, or someone built a dam, or someone drilled for oil, or someone constructed a nuclear power plant. Again, someone must produce! Robert Lee, in a paper entitled, "The Futility of Seeking Common Ground," (Proc.For. Prod. Res. Soc., 1991) states:

"There is not a well-articulated ground in this debate. Advocates for radical change in forest management practices are seeking to revolutionize the social and moral order by challenging industrial capitalism and promoting "biocentric ethics" in place of "homocentric ethics.""

Eco-extremists have a nightmarish plan for us, viewed as utopian by them, as "
jobs would concentrate in urban area
as vast lands in the interior of North America return to a wild state. " (Am. Sci. 84:166). The Wildlands Project, returning over half of North America to the wild state and pretty much eliminating man's access, may take 200 years to accomplish, by their estimate. Unfortunately, at the rate they are succeeding today, they will reach their goal much sooner. People and jobs receive scant attention by them.

While visiting in Seattle, a cold, rainy evening prompted our desire for a fire in the fireplace. A quick trip to the store provided neatly wrapped artificial fireplace logs. Printed on the box was:

"No trees were cut to produce these logs. Only sawdust, a waste product, was used." My daughter suggested a big rubber stamp print on each piece of lumber:

"No trees were cut to produce this lumber. The boards fell out while producing sawdust to make composite fireplace logs."

A forester suggested the other day that on every roll of toilet paper, every ream of writing paper, plywood sheets, etc., we should print "Product of our Renewable Forests."


It has been my pleasure to serve on North Carolina Congressman Charles Taylor's Forest Science Panel. He was a sponsor of the "Salvage Rider" which was bitterly fought by eco-extremists. At a public meeting in Asheville, NC, a reporter asked me, "Do you think the Salvage Rider was a good thing?" Amazingly, my answer, "Yes, and it's too bad we can't manage our public lands so we don't need a Salvage Rider." was quoted correctly the next day in the local press.

Also, it was my privilege to testify on "Criteria of Forest Health" before the Committee on Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, chaired by Helen Chenoweth, Congressional Representative from Idaho. She, like Charles Taylor, supports real forest management. I testified as President of SAF and independently as a forester and concerned citizen. The SAF report on this topic was provided. Testifying independently, which I clearly differentiated, I stated:

* as humans we experience the joy of birth, the vigor of youth, slowing down with age, and finally, death; few of us believe the "hands-off" approach is appropriate for maintaining human health.

* the same is true for forests; a well-managed forest is the healthiest possible.

* criteria of forest health include an adequate cadre of professional foresters; the flexibility to manage the forest unhampered by poorly conceived environmental laws, frivolous appeals and lawsuits, and tax codes that discourage

*long-term investments; strong forestry research programs in the USDA Forest Service, universities, and the private sector; and that forest management remain science based with a complete toolkit (prescribed fire, herbicides, clearcutting, etc.

I summarized by saying that the answer to forest health problems is more not less forest management, and that the primary responsibility for managing our forests should in the hands of those best qualified to do the job - foresters!

A later witness, obviously an environmentalist, said, "I can't believe the arrogance of anyone saying that they can manage the forest better than god." Those few words tell us volumes.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with Senator Larry Craig who is writing a bill to provide for efficient management of our Federal lands. Hopefully, he will be successful.


One of my more thoughtful critics, not implying that most are not, wrote saying the environmentalist would welcome SAF trying to stand up to them since they outnumber us so. He has a point. Recent data indicate the mainline environmental groups in the U.S. have a membership about 350 times that of SAF and budgets that total more than 80 times ours. Those are challenging odds. Alston Chase is quoted as saying it took the Sierra Club 100 years to reach the first 100,000 members and just two years to recruit the second 100,000 and Greenpeace, which started in the U.S. in 1978, is adding 10,000 new subscribers to its publication every month. Truly, the environmental movement is an eco-Goliath.

I suggest SAF has three little stones, TRUTH, SCIENCE, and ECONOMICS. With the proper sling, such as the TV campaign, perhaps we can prevail.

An article by an environmental educator, J. H. Lehr (in press or published in Soil & Ground Water Cleanup Magazine), wrote:

"The world has just witnessed an environmental backlash that lasted less than two years. A newly elected Republican Congress was thought to be set on dismantling abusive environmental regulations. Some were sure they would succeed. Others were not. They knew that the environmental movement, for better or worse, had done too thorough a job brainwashing the world's population
Yes, the battle is over. One can only be in awe of the leadership of the environmental movement for laying so strong a foundation that even logic, common sense, good science and economics could not knock the building from its moorings. Today we are an environmentally activist society - so you may as well lean back and enjoy it. Continue to speak the truth, advise reason, logic and good science, but don't be disappointed when such wisdom is ignored. With psychic hotlines a 300 million dollar industry today, what can we expect."

After one of my talks, a forester reported to me that his daughter was given a t-shirt in kindergarten which pictured a loaded log truck. Printed underneath was "If only trees could scream!" It starts in kindergarten but continues through our educational system. A college textbook of ecology says:

"Consider the ultimate form of external environmental disturbance - total destruction of the habitat, such as might result from logging of a forest, or an asteroid collision, or a nuclear holocaust."

The challenge is almost overwhelming. As I said in my campaign statement:

"A vote for me is a call to battle. I cannot promise victory, nor can I promise fame and glory
But you will know you fought the good fight."


The campaign statement (J. For., Sept. 1995) read:

"It has been a generally orderly retreat, but a retreat nonetheless. Now our backs are against the wall, and powerful voices in our ranks urge surrender. I heard the early salvos in northern California. Facts proved inadequate against a foe unhampered by truth, and the once-powerful redwood industry dried. Next, clearcutting, undoubtedly our best silvicultural tool, came under attack in my home state of West Virginia. Foresters stood shoulder-to-shoulder, but we lost ground steadily. Now school children are taught by propagandized teachers that clearcutting is a despicable and evil practice. The Pacific Northwest, probably the best timber-growing region in the world, has been lost to anti-utilization forces. Thousands of families and hundreds of communities have suffered in the name of the Northern Spotted Owl. The public does not understand that the owl was never the real issue; it was merely the excuse used by those determined to stop timber cutting and destroy the timber industry. Increased paper, lumber, and housing costs; use of metal studs in construction; and even lowly plastic bags in grocery stores testify to our defeats. There are those among us who say it is not "us against them," as if we can wish an enemy out of existence. "Ecosystem management,""sustainable forestry," and a dozen other vague and meaningless terms are incorporated into the surrender document. Some of our number are even accepting the ludicrous notion that forests should be returned to some "pre-settlement" condition. Should we do the same for agricultural land so we can all starve? The flag under which SAF should rally should proclaim our devotion to science-based forest management, with the main focus on furnishing basic human needs�wood for shelter, paper, and hundreds of other necessities. I, for one, would rather lose under that standard than see SAF become just another weak and vacillating organization under the banner of political expediency. Foresters know how to grow trees on a sustained basis, and that is the primary strength of our profession and its reason for existence. We have demonstrated time and time again that good forest management is compatible with the other uses of the forest: watershed, wildlife, and recreation. We have a proud history, but do we have a future? The forestry profession is viable only as long as forest industry is strong. Park rangers do not need forestry degrees! I recognize this is not an uplifting "all-is-well" message. I truly fear for the future of the profession and SAF. A vote for me is a call to battle. I cannot promise victory, nor can I promise fame and glory. If you join me, I must warn you that your character, motives, and intelligence will be assailed. But you will know you fought the good fight. Perhaps we can reverse a prophecy I penned some time ago in somewhat biblical form.

"In the latter days an anti-wise-use force will arise and will deceive many. It will reign for one generation. Mills will be closed, prices will rise, and once-productive forests will be filled with dead and dying trees. The sound of the saw and the ax will be heard no more. The woods will be the habitation of agitators, negotiators, and commentators. But this too shall pass. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. The people will cry, "Why are we wasting this renewable resource? We cannot afford homes as our fathers before us, and lowly paper is beyond our means. Ecosystem management is a false god with a thousand faces, equating humans and salamanders, and calling no management �good� and good management �bad.� It is used by those destroying our means of production." And a new generation of foresters will come forth, once again guided by science-based reason and the knowledge that the stand has always been the basic silvicultural unit, and timber the most important product of the forest. It will be understood that man cannot live by bread and shelter alone, but he surely cannot live without them."


download this .pdf file

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Simple Statistical Guide

This simple guide to statistical procedures can be downloaded here. download this .pdf file

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This work in progress is designed to help forestry students understand basic concepts in forest mensuration. Instructors will find it useful for preparation of tests. It is written in the BASIC language, using Liberty Basic which can be downloaded off the www, and kept simple so that others will contribute modules. Send me an email (hvw3@psu.edu) and I will send code for any of modules in the program. Also, please let me know if you find errors! The latest version of MensiTutor, updated

Mar. 13, 2006

can be downloaded from here. download this .zip file

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A Nationwide Survey of Timber Trespass Legislation

A Master of Forestry paper by Timothy C. Hicks at Penn State Univ., 2005, is available in a pdf file (see top of this website).

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These simple keys should work well in West Virginia and nearby states.

For Palm OS:

Download the .doc file

Download the .zip file

Illustrated version which can be printed from your PC:

Download the .pdf file


Foresters: The following describes a forestry program I have written for the Palm OS. It may be of interest to those using a Palm, Handspring, or similar PDA. If you are interested, download: download program "The BfCordVol.prc stand-alone program for Palm OS does many of the calculations foresters need, including:

* timber volumes (Int., Doyle, Scribner, cords) for one or more trees

* centroid and importance tree volume (English or metric)

* log volume (cubic: centroid, Newton, Smalian, Huber, Bruce) (English or metric)

* log volume (board-foot: Int., Doyle, Scribner)

* optimum plot size for a specified sampling error to minimize field time (English or metric)

* limiting distance for in-trees when point sampling (English or metric)

* plot radius (English or metric)

* side and diagonal of square plots (English or metric)

* dimensions of rectangular plots (English or metric)

* spacing and field time for square or rectangular grids and time difference (English or metric)

* sample size for cruises or estimating proportions.

Background articles are found at: North. J. Appl. For. 33:124, J. For. 59:679, The Consultant 34(4):80, For. Sci. 31:587, For. Sci. 38:187. The icon will say "TreeVol". You must put MathLib.prc, a free add-on, on your Palm, and that library is needed for many other programs anyway. BfCordVol.prc is free for testing purposes and $15 if you decide to use it in your work (Harry V. Wiant, Jr., 2440 Pine Hurst Dr., State College, PA 16803; e-mail: hwiant@comcast.net). No warranties are given or implied
none!!! I hope you find it useful and will appreciate notification of problems or suggestions for improvements."

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A more complicated approach is to use a programming language interpreter, HotPaw(tm) Basic, which is available :ttp://www.nicholson.com/rhn/pilot.html

Unregistered DEMO copies will list a maximum of 4 Basic programs. Registration is not expensive, $20.

I wrote these programs for the Palm III and suggest that you check that they give reasonable answers, except for rounding errors, by doing sample calculations using a calculator or other computer programs. No warranties are given or implied. Please let me know if you detect errors. Use Edit and Copy and Paste to place these programs on your Palm Desktop.

Height to Measure for Importance Sampling & Centroid Method

The following program can be used to determine where tree diameters should be measured when using importance sampling or the centroid method (full citations of literature can be found in my publications listed below on this web site):

# meas ht for cen/imp .bas

# For.Ecol.Mgt.49:336



rn = rnd(10001)

n = rn/10000

input "stump ht (ft/m) ",hs

input "merch ht (ft/m) ",hm

input "total ht (ft/m) ",h


hi = h-((h-hs)^2-n*k)^.5

hc = h-((h-hs)^2-.5*k)^.5



print "Imp ht = ",hix

print "Cen ht = ",hcx



Volume Using Importance Sampling or Centroid Method

The following programs are for determination of volume inside bark (ib) or outside bark (ob) using importance sampling or the centroid method (height measurements will be in m, diameters in cm, and a = .00007854*de^2 for the metric system):

# import/centroid vol ib .bas

# For.Ecol.Mgt. 49:336



input "stump ht (ft) ",hs

input "merch ht (ft) ",hm

input "total ht (ft) ",h

input "dbh (in) ",d

input "2*bark (in) ",bk

input "ht dob meas (ft) ",hu

input "dob at ht ",du

di = d-bk

de = du*di/d

a = .005454*de*de




k = 2*h*(hm-hs)+hh



vx = round(v)

print "vol ib = ";vx



# import/centroid vol ob .bas



input "stump ht (ft/m) ", hs

input "merch ht (ft/m) ",hm

input "total ht (ft/m) ",h

input "ht dob meas (ft/m) " ,hu

input "dob meas (in/cm) ",du

a = .005454*du*du



k = 2*h*(hm-hs)+(hs2-hm2)

uu = a/(h-hu)

v = (k/2)*uu

vx = round(v)

print "vol ob = ",vx



Estimate Cord or Board-Foot Volume of Trees

The following program calculated cord volume (WV local volume equation which seems to work well elsewhere) and board-foot volume (Girard form class 78) for trees using the Int.1/4", Doyle, and Scribner rules.

# BF fc78/cord volno .bas

# Consultant 34(4):80

# NJAF 3:124


10 input "dbh ",d

15 input "logs",L

20 c = .00105*(d^2.2)-.017

25 ia1=1.52968*(L^2)

30 ia2 = 9.58615*L

35 ia3=13.35212

40 ina=ia1+ia2-ia3

45 ib1 = 1.7962

50 ib2 = .27465*(L^2)

55 ib3 = 2.59995*L

60 inb=ib1-ib2-ib3

65 ic1 = .04482

70 ic2 = .00961*(L^2)

75 ic3 = .45997*L

80 inc=ic1-ic2+ic3

85 intx=ina+inb*d+inc*(d^2)

90 sa1 = 17.53508*L

95 sa2 = .59242*(L^2)

100 sa3 = 22.50365

105 sca=sa1-sa2-sa3

110 sb1 = 3.02988

115 sb2=.02302*(L^2)

120 sb3 = 4.34381*L

125 scb=sb1-sb2-sb3

130 sc1 = .51593*L

140 sc2 = .02035*(L^2)

145 sc3 = .01969

150 scc=sc1-sc2-sc3

155 scr=sca+scb*d+scc*(d^2)

160 da1 = .55743*(L^2)

165 da2 = 41.51275*L

170 da3=29.37337

175 doa=da1+da2-da3

180 db1 = 2.78043

185 db2 = .04516*(L^2)

190 db3 = 8.77272*L

195 dob = db1-db2-db3

200 dc1 = .04177

205 dc2 = .01578*(L^2)

210 dc3 = .59042*L

215 doc=dc1-dc2+dc3

220 doy=doa+dob*d+doc*(d^2)

221 cr=round(c,2)

222 intr=round(intx)

223 doyr=round(doy)

224 scrr=round(scr)

225 print "cord vol = ";cr

230 print "inter vol = ";intr

235 print "doyle vol = ";doyr

240 print "scrib vol = ";scrr


Circular Plot Radius

# plot radius .bas

input "plot size in acres ",ps




print "plot radius ft = ",rx


Estimate Cruise Field Time

# cruise field time hrs. .bas

# Gambill et al For. Sci. 31:587

input "tract size ac ", s

input "no. plots or point ",n

input "walking rate (often 2 mph) ",r

input "meas time (min per plot) ",mm


w = s/640

d = (w/n)^.5



tx = round(t,1)

print "field time hrs = ",tx



print "meas time hrs = ",mx



print "travel time hrs = ",tpx



Determine Plot Spacing Square-Grid Pattern

# square grid spac .bas


input "acres in tract ",a

input "no. plots or points ",n



print "square grid spac in chains =",sx



Determine Plot Spacing Rectangular Pattern

# chains between lines .bas

20 input "acres in tract ",ac

30 input "no. plots or points ", n

40 input "chains between lines ", L

50 w=((ac*10)/n)/L

60 wx=round(w,2)

70 print "chains between plots = ",wx



Limiting Distance for Point Sampling

# limiting distance .bas


input "dbh ",d

input "baf ",b



print "dist to tree center ft = ",cx



Estimate Log Volume by Centroid Method

# centroid vol of log .bas

# Wiant For. Sci. 38:187

# diameters in inches; length in ft

input "diam large end ",Bx


input "diam small end ",Sx


input "log length ",L






print "dist from butt ",dist

input "diam at centroid ",cx






print "vol of log ",v



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Cruise07, a program for estimating board foot (Int., Doyle, Scribner) volume of sawtimber based on Mesavage and Girard form class volume tables, cord volume of pulpwood based on local volume tables, number of trees, basal areas, and stumpage values from plot, point sampling, or double sampling using basal area or logs as the easily measured variable. A useful tally sheet, TallySheet.doc, is included in the zip file. Updated Nov. 8, 2007. NOTE: Copy and paste output from Cruise07 into NotePad and print from NotePad for better formatting. Cruise07 is open-source, a first as far as I know in forest inventory. You will find a file, Cruise07Code.txt, which you can modify and adapt for use in any forests anywhere. Cruise07 is free to test, $100 to purchase. To make modifications, you will need to purchase Liberty BASIC, available for about $50 at libertybasic.com. Liberty BASIC is easy to use and makes stand-alone programs. I would appreciate receiving a copy of modifications and improvements you make (hwiant@msn.com). ... download Cruise07.zip file

STUMP, a program for estimating dbh from stump measurements for over 50 eastern species. download this .zip file.

DosAtest, software for testing prediction accuracy based on work by H. M. Rauscher (1986, USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-107. To print output, use Alt+PrintScreen, paste into Paint, click Image, then Invert Colors, File, Print. download this .zip file.

Optimum, a program for estimating minimum field time to obtain desired sampling standard errors, giving optimum plot size or BAF, number of plots/points, spacing (chains) on a square grid, plot radius, and limiting distance. Based on a study in Appalachian hardwoods. download this .zip file

NOTICE: No warranties are given or implied for these programs.

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Field foresters are aware of the advantages of using GPS/GIS when conducting timber inventories, but are concerned about the high expense they believe is necessary to do so. Actually, these tools can be obtained for less than $250 using the procedures described here.

An easy to use GPS system, ExpertGPS, is available and can be downloaded at http://www.expertgps.com/ and registered for about $50. The GPS unit used to develop this system was the Garmin etrex, which with a PC cable, can be purchased for approximately $150 or less. A more expensive instrument that will calculate area would be better.

It is easy to create a square grid, long favored by many foresters. To establish the grid, obtain a GPS latitude and longitude reading on northwest and southwest points which will include the tract of interest. You may do this using ExpertGPS without field work by honing in on the tract using the aerial photo map window (maps are selected automatically off the web with this program). Copy the latitude and longitude values in decimal degrees, which is recommended for use with the GPS unit and ExpertGPS. Download this zip file

Unzip SquareCruiseGrid.zip to obtain the SquareCruiseGrid program. Enter the latitude and longitude information called for using using generous values (the fact that plots will be placed outside the tract of interest is no problem; just ignore them). Save the file with the .csv extension.

Use File, Import in Expert GPS to receive the waypoints created by SquareCruiseGrid. On the first screen, click �Has Header Row�, Next, Next, Finish. Use the Zoom tool and Autoscroll to obtain a suitable photograph with waypoints. Print the photograph for use in the field. As with most software, you will want to try the various options to use ExpertGPS to its greatest advantage. Click GPS, then Send to GPS to put on your etrex, and you are ready to go.

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Simple forest inventory sampling and mensuration guides. Download this .pdf file.


GLOBAL WARMING SECULAR RELIGION The following letter was published in The Forestry Source 13(7):3, July 2008. [ ] indicate portions I submitted that were �significantly� changed. ...

[Religious discussions should be initiated cautiously, of course, but here goes!] Human-caused global warming is today�s secular religion affirmed by a majority of scientists [don�t check their credentials too closely], vote-concerned politicians, a hysterical press, a propagandized population, and so-called environmentalists, who have used it as a tool to negatively affect industries and the rich and poor throughout the world.

Environmentalists will deem every change in climate (which is, of course, never suppose to change) to be human-caused, and the events that indicate otherwise - the coldest winter in China in 100 years, a very cold spring in Pennsylvania, or ice accumulation at the South Pole - will be explained away or just ignored.


Rest assured, what is left of meaningful forestry will be destroyed in ways that will make the northern spotted owl look almost friendly. I fear it will be decades before folks begin to understand they have been the victims of [convenient lies] a convenient hoax.
Harry V. Wiant, Jr. 1997 SAF President

Among other responses I received were:

You are a brave man. I read your letter to the editor in The Forestry Source about global change. I think that many people share your views, but not as many are willing to go public with their opinions. I also think that your description of this topic as a "secular religion" hits the nail on the head. The only other topic that I can think of that has been this divisive is the debate over evolution vs. intelligent design/creationism. The major difference, however, is that evolution and creationism can never really be "proven", and the acceptance of one or the other has no real monetary repercussions on society, so the debate will carry on for the rest of time with millions of people not really caring one way or the other. Plus, careers don't really depend upon society widely accepting either creationism or evolution. However, billions of dollars have been spent on global climate change already, and many, many careers, not to mention reputations and egos, now depend upon the widespread acceptance of the coming Armageddon due to global warming. The more climate scientists who go public with their skepticism, the more that the climate-change devotees become very nervous. Woe be it to the brave souls who dare question the predictions of disaster, as they will be personally attacked rather than their ideas being debated. In the final analysis, I think that this is really sad as the damage done to science and scientists in the public's eye by this headlong rush into acceptance of global-scale model predictions will take many years to overcome.


Good to see you in the Forestry Source. I applaud your letter in the current issue. Alas, I fear foresters either don't recognize what you point out or are too timid to do anything about it - even within their own organization.


Foresters often include maps when providing clients with cruise reports. A map with contours

indicating volumes is very helpful, especially to potential buyers of timber who may want to concentrate their field examination on the portions of the tract with greater volumes. This is easily done if the cruise program you use provides per-acre estimates for each point or plot. To try this: download this zip file

The contour software, which I highly recommend, is simple to use. Go to http://www.perspectiveedge.com/ and download the program, QuikGrid. It is free to try and cost only $37.50 if you wish to keep it.

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This guide by Harry V. Wiant, Jr. (PSU) and John R. Brooks (WVU) can be glued to the back of a business card, and is useful when quick, rough estimates of timber volume are needed. Calibrate your thumb to serve as a BAF=10 instrument, the place where it covers a foot-wide target when your eye is 33 feet away, and you are ready to go!

MensiCard Approximations

tree: L=16-ft logs, H=tot ht ft, BA=basal area

stand: L=avgL H=avgH, BA=BA/ac, BAF=BA factor

bf = f*BA*L (f: Int =67, Scrib =61, Doyle=51)

(bf/ac=f*BAF*no.logs on in-trees)

cords = 0.0046*BA*H

tons = 0.013*BA*H

hwd: ft3 = 0.42*BA*H

conifer: ft3 = 0.46*BA*H

assuming 5 bf/ft3, bf=2*BA*H

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A study that indicated ignoring the covariance term is acceptable, in practical terms, with the 3P and point sampling system. Download this .pdf file

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"Introduction to BASIC Programming for Foresters using Liberty BASIC" by John R. Brooks (WVU) and Harry V. Wiant, Jr. (PSU) is designed to introduce the forester to programming using Liberty BASIC. Liberty BASIC can be downloaded from the www and used to make compiled programs for a nominal fee. Foresters often need special programs, and the BASIC language is easy to learn. Download this .pdf file


"Height, dob, dib, and biomass data for some hardwood trees in northern WV. Download this .pdf file


"Introduction to Consulting Forestry" by Harry V. Wiant, Jr.(PSU), John R. Brooks (WVU) and others is a free eBook describing the business of consulting foresters. Download this .pdf file

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Many foresters who have gone to conventions of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) have heard the old-time and bluegrass music a group of us has played at these events for almost 20 years. Ray Hicks and my rendition of the "Cabbage Head" song has become a real favorite. During the summer of 2000 we gathered in Georgia and had a professional recording session. Our CD is now at the top of the SAF music chart (also at the bottom since it's the only one). Pete Hannah wrote on the inside label:

"Much of American folk music has close links to natural resources and associated personal struggles. Immigrants such as Scots, Irish, French, English, African and other ethnic groups brought many songs to America. New versions of the songs were born and in time new musical forms developed, inspired by experiences in the new environment. Appalachian music owes much to the songs, tunes, and instruments of the Old World. Bluegrass music evolved from the background, credited to Bill Monroe, who had close links with the land.

Songs of the sea, rivers, land and forests are abundant in our American folk tradition. The bounty of natural forests in America led to a major logging industry and inspired among the loggers many songs of the adventures and tragedies of that lifestyle. In time it became apparent that, even in America, forests were not limitless, and must be tended to insure their continued existence and productivity. The profession of forestry, like our musical traditions, developed in Europe and was adapted to meet the challenges of the New World. Gifford Pinchot was one of the first American foresters to recognize the need for management and he inspired many of us to join the profession.

Foresters have a great love for the trees, the land and wildlife and for many it inspires music and songs as it did with the early loggers. At a Society of American Foresters (SAF) national meeting in Birmingham, Alabama almost 20 years ago foresters who love to play traditional music arranged an evening jam session. Response by the attendees was enthusiastic and the following year, and almost every year since, we have eagerly awaited the opportunity to renew old musical friendships and make new ones - a tradition was born. Enthusiasm for the music by both performers and listeners alike has led to this "In Tall Timber" recording, featuring the title cut composed for Chordwood by Louisa Branscomb. We hope everyone enjoys the original new songs and the old favorites from past jams, now an SAF tradition.

Pete Hannah, retired Professor of Forestry, University of Vermont"

Songs include "My Little Girl in Tennessee", "Old Love Letters", "Your Love is Like a Flower", "My Darlin' Said Goodbye", "In Tall Timber", "Panhandle Rag", "Cabbage Head", "Greenville Trestle High", "Burn Another Honkey-Tonk Down", "Keep on the Sunny Side", "Redwing", and "On and On".

This forestry band was comprised of Bod Cecich (dobro),Mike Crane (banjo, lead and tenor vocal), Dick Daniels (bass, baritone vocal),Ray Hicks (guitar, lead and tenor vocal), Tom Lynch (mandolin), Mark Squires (fiddle), Paul Trinoaky (mandolin, lead and tenor vocal), Harry Wiant (lead vocal). The two songs sung by Wiant and Hicks are "Cabbage Head" and "Old Love Letters."

Bluegrass Unlimited (March 2001), in their review of this CD said "
the group's instrumental prowess is impeccable" and "
if these pickers are as diligent in their regular jobs, then our nation's forests are certainly in good hands." I will send you the Cordwood file or information on how to download it; contact me at harry.wiant@gmail.com.

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Joseph E. Ibberson Chair, School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University, 2002 - present.

Consultant in general forestry, silviculture, forest mensuration, software development, and applied statistics. Experienced public speaker dealing with the wise use of our forest resources and the dangers posed by environmental extremism.


Yale Univ.; Univ. Ga.; WV Univ. Ph.D., Silviculture, 1963; M.F., Silviculture, 1959; B.S.F., Forest Management, 1954


Josep E. Ibberson Chair in For. Resour. Mgt., Penn State Univ., 2002-

Vice President, President, Society American Foresters, 1996-97.

Prof. of Forestry, West Virginia Univ., 1972-96.

Prof. of Forestry, Asst. to Dean, Stephen F. Austin State Univ., 1965-72.

Humboldt State College, Assistant Professor. 1961-65.

USDA Forest Service, Junior Forester, 1957.

Temporary: Soil Conser. Aide, 1951; USDA For. Serv., 1952; Elem. Teacher, 1954.

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Expert in charge of the inventory of 2800 acres of old-growth wood involved in an expansion of the Redwood National Park. Natural Resources Management Corp., PO Drawer 1247, Eureka, CA 95501. (Dates 1979-83; Contact Frank Mileham, 707-442-1735).

Expert in timber trespass case valued at about 33 thousand dollars. McNeer, Highland & McMunn, Empire National Bank Building, Clarksburg, WV 26301. (Date 1989; Contact Richard Gallagher,


Expert in timber trespass case valued at about 100 thousand dollars. Law Offices, 55 East Church St., Uniontown, PA 15401. (Date 1983; Contact Nicholas J. Cook, 412-437-0920).

Expert in Michael and Lucille Kearns vs. Wheeling Power Co. & Asplundh Tree Expert Co. Seibert, Kasserman, Farnsworth, Gillen-water, Glauser & Richardson, 1217 Chapline St., PO Box 311,

Wheeling, WV 26003-0042. (Date 1992; Contact Elba Gillenwater, Jr., 304-233-1220).

Expert in Adams vs Asplundh. Rose, Schmidt, Hasley & Disalle, P.C., 9000 Oliver Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-5369. (Date 1993; Contact Keithley D. Mulvihill, 412-434-8865).

Expert in timber trespass case valued at about 100 thousand dollars. Contact: Larry DeHaven, Potomac Ranger District,Monongahela National Forest, HC-59 Box 240, Petersburg, WV


Expert in arboreal survey case, Environmental Consultants International Limited vs Tower Forestry. High Court of Justice, Liverpool, England. (Date 1999-2000; Contact Stuart Irons, 0151-236-6226). In his decision, the Judge stated: "An eminent expert witness, a man of immeasurable experience and a distinguished Academic" and "accepted Professor Wiant's evidence and indeed preferred it in substance and veracity to that offered by the defendants."

Expert in forest harvesting case, Federal Coal Co. vs Pullen Brothers Timber Supply (Date 2001; contact Jackson & Kelly PLLC, Bill Miller, 304-340-1268).

Expert in timber trespass (land dispute), John H. Lopez, John Lorea, and Frank Lopea vs Clonch Industries, Inc. (Date 2003: contact Jackson & Kelly PLLC, John P. Melick, 304-340-1289).

Expert in contract dispute. Roger L. Lamens vs Helen L. Fisher. (Date 2004: contact Courtney & Courtney, 814-445-2271)

Expert in contract dispute. Jack Krauss and Cindy Brillman vs D. Elmeda Claar, Hollidaysburg Trust Co., and Shawn P. Sullivan. (Date 2006-07: contact Brian Must, 412-918-1124). Attorney said something like, "Dr. Wiant is the best forestry expert I have heard in court." Back to Top


1984. Inventory Report, Arcata Corp., Timber and Land. Natural Resources Manage. Corp. (Intensive 3P inventory of 2800 acres of virgin redwood timber.)

1997. Report on Forest Health of the United States. (Report by a panel chartered by Charles Taylor, Member, United States Congress.)

1997. A Nationwide Study Comparing Tree Measurement and Scaled Sale Methods for Selling United States Forest Service Timber. Natural Resources Manage. Corp. (Report to the USDA Forest Service.)

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Testified March 18, 1997, Oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health of the Committee on Resources, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifth Congress (Serial No. 105-6).

Testified Sept. 23, 1997, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health of the Committee on Resources, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifth Congress (Serial No. 105-62).

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1959. Seasonal influences on effectiveness of frill applications of growth regulators in hardwood control. Proc. 12th South. Weed Conf. pp. 117-122. (with L. C. Walker)

1959. Silvicide screening. Ga. For. Res. Council Progress Rept. 10 pp. (with L. C. Walker)

1960. Effectiveness of a mechanical tree girdler. Ga. Agr. Res. 1(4): 7. (with L. C. Walker)

1960. Controlling undesirable hardwoods; effect of chlorobenzoic acids on Carya spp. Ga. Agr. Res. 2(1): 10, 12. (with L. C. Walker)

1960. Mineral spirits effective in hardwood control. J. For. 58: 324. (with L. C. Walker)

1961. Variable response of diffuse- and ring-porous species to girdling. J. For. 59: 676-677. (with L. C. Walker)

1964. External applications of silvicide paste kills oaks. J. For. 62: 455. (with L. C. Walker)

1964. Comparison of two silvicide injectors for killing oaks. The Consultant 9(4): 16. (with L. C. Walker)

1964. The concentration of carbon dioxide at some forest micro-sites. J. For. 62: 817-819.

1965. Site index equations for tanoak, Pacific madrone, and red alder in the Redwood Region of Humboldt County, California. J. For. 63: 286-287. (with D. R. Porter)

1965. Frill and silvicide treatments for killing oaks during summer and winter. Proc. 18th South. Weed Conf. pp. 329- 332. (with L. C. Walker)

1966. The concentration of carbon dioxide near the ground under eastern white pine and black spruce trees. Adv. Front. Plant Sci. 16: 197-203.

1966. Sprouting of old-growth redwood. Proc. Soc. Am. For. pp. 88-90. (with R. F. Powers)

1966. An improved technique for mounting dendrological material. J. For. 64: 814.

1966. Site index comparisons for redwood, Douglas-fir, and some associated hardwoods. J. For. 64: 541-543. (with D. R. Porter)

1966. The cycle of carbon dioxide in the world and the forest. Timber 1(2): 25-29. (publication of Humboldt State College)

1966. Silviculture of longleaf pine. Stephen F. Austin Bul. 11. 105 pp. (with L. C. Walker)

1967. Has the contribution of litter decay to forest "soil respiration" been overestimated? J. For. 65: 408-409.

1967. Contribution of roots to forest "soil respiration." Adv. Front. Plant Sci. 18: 163-167.

1967. Rooting cuttings from second-growth redwood trees and sprouts. Tree Planters' Notes 18: 13. (with J. Whiteman)

1967. Influence of temperature on the rate of soil respiration. J. For. 65: 489-490.

1967. Coppice regeneration of second-growth redwood. Tree Planters' Notes 18: 20-21.

1967. Comparison of mechanical and silvicide treatments for killing small red alder trees. The Consultant 12(2): 17-18. (with G. A. Zane and N. N. Stoneman)

1967. Influence of wind on the concentration of carbon dioxide at the forest floor. J. For. 65: 563.

1967. Sampling for tarif number and volume determinations in tanoak stands. J. For. 65: 650-651. (with W. S. Berry)

1967. Influence of moisture content on "soil respiration." J. For. 65: 902-903.

1968. Some thoughts on teaching dendrology. J. For. 66: 556.

1968. Silviculture of slash pine. Stephen F. Austin Bul. 16. 113 pp. (with L. C. Walker)

1969. Does delaying application of silvicides in frills affect hardwood kills? The Consultant 14(2): 17. (with L. C. Walker and R. Rinehart)

1969. Mounting twig specimens. J. For. 67: 254. (with S. W. Oefinger, Jr.)

1969. Cacodylic acid silvicides for thinning loblolly pine and controlling hardwoods. Proc. 22nd South. Weed Conf. pp. 260-262. (with L. C. Walker)

1970. Relative browsing of 16 species by white-tailed deer. J. Range Mgt. 23: 146-147. (with L. K. Halls and J. D. McCarty)

1970. Policies affecting today's foresters. The Consultant 15(3): 64-66. (with L. C. Walker)

1970. Sprouting of old-growth redwood stumps on slopes. For. Sci. 16: 339-341. (with R. F. Powers)

1970. Supply of soil water in forest stands on sandy soils as influenced by thinning and microtopography. Adv. Front. Plant Sci. 25: 181-185. (with K. G. Watterston)

1971. Tree-volume tarif access tables for southern pines. Texas For. Paper 7. 28 pp. (with D. F. Smith)

1971. Let's standardize the aggregate difference. The Consultant 16(2): 45. (with E. V. Hunt, Jr.)

1971. In defense of clearcutting. The Consultant 16(3): 64- 65. Also in Texas For. 12(9): 2.

1971. Non-intellectual factors in academic success. Improving College and Univ. Teaching 19: 297-298. (with C. L. Iglinsky)

1972. Estimating volume of southern pine timber by the tarif method. The Consultant 17(1): 11-12.

1972. Inexpensive leaf illustrations. J. For. 70: 36.

1972. Which students do not repay college loans? The J. of Student Financial Aid 2(2): 32-35. (with L. B. Pattillo, Jr.)

1972. Form class estimates - a simple guide. J. For. 70: 421-422.

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1972. Bleaching effluent for irrigation? Pulp & Paper 46(9):90. (with J. C. Norris and K. G. Watterston)

1972. Estimating volume of southern pines using tarif and standard volume tables. Texas For. Paper 15. 4 pp. (with P. G. Rung, Jr. and W. T. Sandeen)

1972. Educating Honduran foresters. So. Lumberman 225(2800):141-142. (with S. I. Somberg)

1973. Is the 1-foot stump height obsolete? The Northern Logger 21(7): 35. (with W. R. Maxey)

1973. Rule-of-thumb thinning guides for pine stands. The Consultant 18(2): 47-48.

1973. Cruise sawtimber without diameter measurements. The Northern Logger 21(11): 24-25. (with W. R. Maxey)

1973. Does school desegregation change occupational goals of Negro males? J. Vocational Behavior 3: 175-179. (with J. A. Hall)

1973. Estimating timber volumes without equipment. The Northern Logger 22(1): 24. (with W. R. Maxey)

1973. Foreign students in U.S. Forestry schools. J. For. 71:343. (with S. I. Somberg)

1973. Height tallies fewer, using tarif system for sawtimber estimates. For. Industries 100(10): 38. (with D. M. Holland and W. R. Maxey)

1973. Estimating cordwood volume of evenaged upland oak forests. The Northern Logger 22(4): 34.

1973. Aspect influences sawtimber volumes on the W. Va. Univ. Forest. W. Va. For. Notes 1: 10. (with W. R. Maxey)

1973. Estimacion rapida de volumen en rodales de pino. Mexico y sus Bosques 12(6): 15-16. (with M. A. Ramirez)

1973. Timber volume estimates made simple. W. Va. For. Notes 1:11-12. (with W. R. Maxey)

1973. Efficiency of regular spacing planting designs. Tree Planters' Notes 24(3): 31-32.

1974. Does form class vary with dbh in second-growth hardwood stands? The Consultant 19(1): 23-24.

1974. Improving form class estimations of forest trees. The Consultant 19(3): 68-72. (with W. R. Maxey)

download this pdf file

1974. A layman's key to native W. Va. forest trees. W. Va. Agri. & For. 5(4): 6-11.

1974. Combine 3P and point sampling for efficient cruising. W. Va. For. Notes 2: 12-15.

1974. Predicting diameters inside bark from outside bark measurements on some Appalachian hardwoods. J. For. 72: 775. (with C. B. Koch)

1974. Student evaluation of teaching: keep it simple. Improving College and Univ. Teaching 22: 270.

1974. Don't plant white pine near walnut| Tree Planters' Notes 25(4): 30. (with M. A. Ramirez)

1975. How accurately must one determine the height of the first log for form class determinations? The Consultant 20: 53-54. (with C. B. Koch)

1975. Species composition as a predictor of site quality in mixed Appalachian hardwoods. Proc. 3rd Annual Hwd. Symposium of the Hwd. Res. Council. pp. 80-83. (with M. A. Ramirez and J. E. Barnard)

1975. Schnur's site index curves for upland oaks formulated. J. For. 73: 429.

1975. Tarif system provides local sawtimber volume tables. W. Va. For. Notes 3: 9-12.

1975. Predicting oak site index by species composition in W. Va.. J. For. 73: 666-667. (with M. A. Ramirez and J. E. Barnard)

1975. Influence of rounding on calculations of relative errors of combined 3P and point sample cruises. W. Va. For. Notes 4:7-8.

1975. Updating a line-plot cruise on the W. Va. Univ. Forest by 3P and point sampling. W. Va. For. Notes 4: 9.

1975. An evaluation of Schnur's curves for predicting site index of upland oaks. W. Va. For. Notes 4: 14-15. (with C. E. Sheetz)

1975. Size of W. Va. deer as related to soil fertility. W. Va. Agri. & For. 6(2) 12-13. (with C. M. Smith and E. D. Michael)

1975. 3P sampling made simple. The Consultant 20(3): 78-79.

1976. Formulas of site index prediction tables for oak in Missouri. USDA Forest Service Res. Note NC-200. (with R. A. McQuilkin)

1976. Approximating annual growth of upland forest trees. W. Va. Agri. & For. 6(3): 1. (with K. L. Carvell)

1976. Trees for the yard, orchard, and woodlot. Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA. 305 pp. (with eight other authors)

1976. A test of the statistical validity of a 3P and point sampling design. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-2: 1-3. (with M. S. Fountain)

1976. Elementary 3P sampling. W. Va. Univ. Agri. & For. Exp. Stn. Bul. 650T. 31 pp.

1976. Involve students in grading discussion-type examinations. Improving College and Univ. Teaching 24: 144.

1976. Relating tree species to site quality in mixed Appalachian forests. W. Va. For. Notes 6: 17-21. (with J. E. Barnard and M. A. Ramirez)

1977. Is pacing adequate when measuring tree heights? The Consultant 22(1): 21. (with W. R. Maxey)

1977. Mesavage and Girard's volume tables formulated. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-4: 1-4. (with F. Castaneda)

1977. The case for clearcutting. W. Va. Univ. Magazine 9(1):13-14.

1977. An illustration of list sampling. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-6: 1-5.

1977. Comparison of point-3P sampling designs. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-8: 1-5.

1977. Which STX bark option is best for certain Appalachian hardwoods? So. J. Applied For. 1(4): 25. (with A. Colaninno, C. E. Sheetz and J. C. DeMoss)

1977. Graduate admission procedures in U.S. forestry schools. J. For. 75: 782.

1977. Tables and procedures for estimating weights of some Appalachian hardwoods. W. Va. Univ. Agri. & For. Exp. Stn. Bul. 659T. 36 pp. (with C. E. Sheetz, A. Colaninno, J. C. DeMoss and F. Castaneda)

1978. An illustration of sampling with equal and unequal probabilities. The Consultant 23(1): 22-25. (with W. R. Maxey)

1978. Potential of 3P sampling in wildlife and range management. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rept. RM-55: 304-306. (with E. D. Michael)

1978. Rapid weight estimations for upland oak stands. W. Va. Agri. & For. 7(3): 12. (with P. M. Charlton)

1978. Diameter distribution on the W. Va. Univ. Forest. W. Va. Agri. & For. 7(3): 16-18.

1978. Sampling for weight in Appalachian hardwoods. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-13: 8-9.

1978. Modification of Freese's chi-square test of accuracy. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-14: 1-3. (with J. C. Rennie)

1978. A shortcut for the development of weight yield tables. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-14: 4-6.

1978. A technique for combining related regressions into one equation. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-16: 1-5.

1978. Preliminary weight yield tables for evenaged upland oak forests. W. Va. Univ. Agri. & For. Exp. Stn. Bul. 664T. 20 pp. (with F. Castaneda)

1978. Shortcuts for Mesavage and Girard volume tables. The Consultant 23: 72-73.

1978. Structure of graduate faculties in the United States today. Improving College and Univ. Teaching 26: 141- 142. (with W. T. Bourbon, S. I. Somberg and W. T. Young)

1979. Board-foot factors for point sampling. J. For. 77: 29. (with W. R. Maxey)

1979. Are separate weight equations needed for Appalachian hardwoods? W. Va. For. Notes 7: 20.

1979. Equations for predicting weights of some Appalachian hardwoods. W. Va. For. Notes 7: 21-26. (with F. Castaneda, C. E. Sheetz, A. Colaninno and J. C. DeMoss)

1979. Percent bias and standard error in logarithmic regression. For. Sci. 25: 167-168. (with E. J. Harner)

1979. A note on double sampling-point sampling. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-24: 14-15. (with B. Zeide)

1979. Elementary timber measurements. Textbook for Technician Schools. Private printing. 134 pp.

1979. Estimating woody biomass using 3P and point sampling. P. 757-762 in Proc. Workshop in Forest Resource Inventories. Colo. State Univ., Fort Collins.

1979. Deriving a local volume table from a stand and stock table. Resource Inventory Notes BLM-26: 18-19.

1979. Comparison of height-accumulation volumes using the Spiegel Relaskop and Wheeler Pentaprism. So. J. Applied For. 3:144-145. (with G. D. Hansen)

1980. Oak site index and biomass yield in upland oak and cove hardwood timber types in W. Va.. USDA Forest Service Res. Note NE-291. (with M. S. Fountain)

1980. Shifting lumber prices and the silviculturist. The Consultant 25: 82.

1980. Point-sampling factors for Appalachian hardwoods. Resource Evaluation Newsletter 3: 1-3.

1980. Survey methods for ecosystem management by W. L. Myers and R. L. Shelton. (Book review in J. For. 78: 576.)

1980. Optimum plot size for cruising sawtimber in eastern forests. J. For. 78: 642-643. (with D. O. Yandle)

1980. Complete tally versus sample cruise. Resource Evaluation Newsletter 5: 5-7. (with D. O. Yandle)

1980. Is clearcutting a responsible forestry practice? J. Amer. Sci. Affiliation 32: 204-206.

1980. Effects of intermediate cuttings in Appalachian hardwood stands: a 30-year study. W. Va. For. Notes 8: 20- 22. (with P. M. Charlton and K. L. Carvell)

1980. Eastern hemlock. In Forest Cover Types of the United States and Canada. F. H. Eyre, Editor. Soc. Amer. Foresters, Wash., D. C. p. 27.

1980. Setting inventory objectives. USDA Forest Service General Tech. Rept. WO-28: 96-97.

1981. Biomass factors for point sampling in Appalachian hardwoods. J. For. 79: 21-29. (with D. E. Wingerd)

1981. Computer program for point-sample biomass cruising of Appalachian hardwoods. Resources Evaluation Newsletter 7: 3- 6. (with D. E. Wingerd)

1981. Comparison of fixed-radius circular plot sampling with simple random sampling. For. Sci. 27: 245-252. (with D. O. Yandle)

1981. Estimation of plant biomass based on the allometric equation. Can. J. For. Res. 11: 833-834. (with D. O. Yandle)

1981. Response variables for biomass estimates of trees and shrubs. Proc. 1981 So. For. Biomass Workshop. pp. 57-59.

1981. Use of isolines for mapping biomass. Proc. In-Place Resource Inventories Workshop, Orono, ME. pp. 230-231. (with R. Knight)

1981. Biomass estimates based on the simple power function - some calculation considerations. Proc. In-Place Resource Inventories Workshop, Orono, ME. pp. 350-354. (with D. O. Yandle)

1982. Site index prediction table for sassafras on the W. Va. Univ. Forest. W. Va. For. Notes 9: 1-2. (with F. Castaneda)

1982. Biomass productivity related to soil-site factors on a small watershed. W. Va. For. Notes 9: 9-12. (with R. R. Hicks, Jr., P. S. Frank, Jr. and K. L. Carvell)

1982. Comparative site index of eight hardwood species on the W. Va. Univ. Forest. W. Va. For. Notes 9: 18-20. (with W. S. Ostaff and K. L. Carvell)

1982. Influence of merchantable limits on board-foot volume estimates. Resources Evaluation J. 1(1): 9-11. (with P. M. Charlton)

1982. Variables for predicting inside-bark diameters of upper stems of Appalachian hardwoods. J. For. 80: 791-792. (with D. E. Wingerd)

1983. Topography and biomass characteristics of a forested catchment in the northern Appalachians. Forest Ecology and Mgt. 5: 55-69. (with S. J. Tajchman)

1983. How to sell your woodlot and avoid "the timber trap." Farm J. 107(3): 26.

1983. Approximating mortality in evenaged upland oak stands. W. Va. For. Notes 10: 7-8. (with W. R. Maxey)

1983. Site index equations for evenaged oak stands in northwestern W. Va.. W. Va. For. Notes 10: 11-12. (with N. I. Lamson)

1983. A summary of graduate degrees completed in the Division of Forestry, 1964-82. W. Va. For. Notes 10: 19-30. (with H. Massullo)

1983. A comparison of some two-stage sampling designs. Proc. Renewable Resource Inventories for Monitoring Changes and Trends, Corvallis, OR. pp. 645-647. (with D. O. Yandle and J. R. Meyers)

1984. Estimating volumes of upland hardwoods with the Behre hyperboloid. J. For. 82: 173-174.

1984. Relation of biomass to basal area and site index on an Appalachian watershed. USDA Forest Service Res. Note NE-315. (with R. Knight and J. E. Baumgras)

1984. Is BAF 10 a good choice for point sampling? North. J. Appl. For. 2: 23-24. (with D. O. Yandle and R. Andreas)

1984. A taper system for predicting height, diameter, and volume of hardwoods. North J. Appl. For. 2: 24-25. (with D. O. Yandle)

1984. Marking and maintaining forest boundaries. For. Farmer 43(7): 22, 24.

1985. TIAS timber inventory analysis system. W. Va. Div. For. 135 pp. (with J. R. Brooks)

1985. Minimize field time when cruising Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 2: 70, 95. (with C. W. Gambill)

1985. Estimating form class of Appalachian hardwoods by Judson's relation. The Consultant 30: 46.

1985. Optimum plot size and BAF. For. Sci. 31: 587-594. (with C. W. Gambill and D. O. Yandle)

1986. Wiant-f-c-Wedge. The Consultant 31: 23.

1986. A key for the Forest Service hardwood tree grades. North. J. Appl. For. 3: 19-22. (with G. W. Miller and L. F. Hanks)

1986. Regression programs for construction of local volume tables. P. 50-57 in Forestry Microcomputer Software Symposium. W. Va. Univ., Morgantown.

1986. Forestry microcomputer software symposium. W. Va. Univ., Morgantown. 747 p. (Editor, with D. O. Yandle and W. E. Kidd)

1986. Butt-log grade distribution for five Appalachian hardwood species. USDA For. Serv. NE-RP-590. 4 p. (with J. R. Myers, G. W. Miller, and J. E. Barnard)

1986. Formulas for Mesavage and Girard's volume tables. North. J. Appl. For. 3: 124.

Download: download this .doc file

1986. An inexpensive computer system for pulpwood cruises. The Compiler 4(3): 38-39.

1986. Introduction to BASIC programming for foresters. For. Resour. Syst. Inst., Florence, AL. 80 p. (with J. R. Brooks)

1986. A field test of 3P sampling with height accumulation. W. Va. For. Notes 12: 17. (with W. R. Maxey and A. Colaninno)

1987. Sampling for pulpwood and sawtimber stumpage value in Appalachian hardwood stands. North. J. Appl. For. 4: 36.

1987. Getting a handle on Turbo Graphix Toolbox. The Compiler 5(1): 28-29.

1987. ZBASIC - look before you leap! The Compiler 5(2): 32.

1987. Misclassifying trees, the high cost of cruising errors. J. For. 85(6): 40-41.

1987. Chapin charts. The Compiler 5(3): 38-40.

1987. When square plots are more efficient than circular ones. W. Va. For. Notes 13: 8.

1987. A test of 3P and point sampling. W. Va. For. Notes 13: 34. (with R. R. Cristan)

1987. Changes in crown width/diameter breast high relations over time for Appalachian hardwoods. W. Va. For. Notes 13: 35-37. (with K. L. Carvell and P. C. Johnson)

1987. DOUBLE for cruising with double sampling. The Compiler (5): 42.

1987. Lower bole diameter and volume of four Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 4: 212. (with T. B. Williams)

1988. Graduate stipends in U.S. forestry schools. J. For. 86(2): 6. (with J. E. Coster)

1988. Where is the optimum height for measuring tree diameter? North J. Appl. For. 5: 184-185.

1989. How to estimate the value of timber in your woodlot. W.Va. Univ. Aric. & For. Exp. Stn. Cir. 148. 55 p.

1989. Stein-rule estimation of cruise volumes. North J. Appl. For. 6: 138-139. (with E. J. Green)

1989. Local volume tables for W. Va. species. The Consultant 34: 79-80.

1989. Estimating the volume of radiata pine using importance sampling. Aust. For. 52: 286-292. (with G. B. Wood and J. A. Miles)

1990. An inexpensive computer system for rapid sawtimber estimates. North J. Appl. For. 7: 142-145.

1990. Centroid sampling: A variant of importance sampling for estimating the volume of sample trees of radiata pine. For. Ecol. & Manage. 36: 233-243. (with G. B. Wood, R. J. Loy, and J. A. Miles)

1990. Estimating the volume of Australian hardwoods using centroid sampling. Aust. For. 53: 271-274. (with G. B. Wood)

1991. Comparison of centroid and paracone estimates of tree volume. Can. J. For. Res. 21: 714-717. (with G. B. Wood and R. R. Forslund)

1992. Estimating log volume using the centroid position. For. Sci. 38: 187-191. (with G. B. Wood and G. M. Furnival)

1992. Accuracy of timber trespass cruises. North. J. Appl. For. 9: 35-36. (with B. T. Simpson)

1992. A SAS template program for the accuracy test. The Compiler 10(1): 48-51. (with L. S. Gribko)

1992. A test of quick estimates of merchantable logs and tree grade. W. Va. For. Notes 14: 5. (with R. R. Cristan)

1992. An inexpensive computer system for estimating the volume and value of logs. W. Va. For. Notes 14: 18-19.

1992. Comparison of point-3P and modified point-list sampling for inventory of mature native hardwood forest of southeastern New South Wales. Can. J. For. Res. 22: 725-728. (with G. B. Wood)

1992. Practical guide for estimating the volume of a standing tree using either importance or centroid sampling. For. Ecol. Manage. 49: 333-339. (with G. B. Wood and T. G. Gregoire)

1992. Test of application of centroid and importance sampling in a point-3P forest inventory. For. Ecol. Manage. 53: 107-115. (with G. B. Wood)

1993. Errors in estimating the volume of butt logs. For. Prod. J. 43(3): 41-44. (with D. W. Patterson and G. B. Wood)

1993. Comparison of the centroid method and taper systems for estimating tree volumes. North. J. Appl. For. 10: 8-9. (with D. W. Patterson and G. B. Wood)

1993. Relationship of position in tree to bulk density of logs whose volumes were measured by weighing while immersed. For. Prof. J. 43(4): 75-77. (with D. W. Patterson)

1993. Estimation of volume growth on the West Virginia University Forest using Zeide's growth types. North. J. Appl. For.10: 140.

1993. DOSATEST for testing accuracy. The Compiler 11(3): 28-29.

1993. Estimating volume of portions of the main stem of hardwood seedlings. W. Va. For. Notes 15: 19-20 (with several graduate students)

1993. Comparing centroid methods based on importance or control-variate sampling. P. 86-85 in Modern Methods of Estimating Tree and Log Volume. Proc. of Conf., W. Va. Univ.

(with H. T. Valentine and T. G. Gregoire)

1993. Comparison of Bruce-s formula and other methods for estimating the volume of butt logs. P. 79-85 in Modern Methods of Estimating Tree and Log Volume. Proc. of Conf., W. Va. Univ.

(with D. W. Patterson, C. C. Hassler, and J. C. Rennie)

1994. Evaluation of nine taper systems for four Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 11: 24-26. (with T. B. Williams)

1994. Comparison of log volume estimates using formulae for log center of gravity and center of volume. Can. J. For. Res.24: 133-138. (with T. B. Lynch and D. W. Patterson)

1995. Relation of Girard form class and form point in Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 12: 90. (with E. T. Plaugher)

1995. Ecosystem management: retreat from reality. P. 73-76 in Proc. 1995 Penn State Sch. For. Resour. Issues Conf. (reprinted in For. Farmer 54: 20-23; The Timber Producer, Jan. 1996: 62-68)

1996. Comparison of formulas for estimating volumes of butt logs of Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 13: 5-7. (with D. W. Patterson, C. C. Hassler, G. B. Wood, and J. C. Rennie)

1996. Double sampling saves time when cruising Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 13: 116-118. (with P. H. Merten and J. C. Rennie)

1997. The economic impacts of deferring electric utility tree maintenance. J. Arboriculture 23: 106-112. (with D. M. Browning)

1998. Double sampling with importance sampling to eliminate bias in tree volume estimation of the centroid method. For. Ecol. Manage. 104: 77-88. (with M. S. Williams)

2000. Centroid method: comparison of simple and complex proxy tree taper functions. For. Sci. 46(4): 473-477. (with D. W. Coble)

2002. 3P sampling used in timber trespass inventory. The Consultant 47(2): 32-33. (with E. B. Hager)

2002. Comparison of estimates of hardwood bole volume using importance sampling, the centroid method, and some taper equations. North. J. Appl. For. 19: 141-142. (with M. L. Spangler and J. E. Baumgras).

2003. Expert witnessing. The Consultant 48(2):16-17. (with J. R. Brooks)

2004. Efficient sampling grids for timber cruises. North. J. Appl. For. 21(2):80-82. (with J. R. Brooks)

2004. Estimation of volume growth using Zeide's growth types: an updated evaluation. North. J. Appl. For. 21(3):164-165. (with J. R. Brooks)

2004. A simple technique for estimating cubic volume yields. For. Ecol. Mgt. 373-380. (with J. R. Brooks)

. 2005. A simple technique for estimating board foot volume yields in Appalachian hardwoods. North. J. Appl. For. 23(3):211-214. (with J. R. Brooks)

2005. Auxiliary variables for use with double sampling: an updated look. Proceed. Southern Mensurationists Meeting, Wilmington, NC. (with J. R. Brooks and J. McQuaide)

2005. Introduction to BASIC Programming for Foresters using Liberty BASIC. Available at this website (with J. R. Brooks)

2006. A survey of consulting forestry education in accredited forestry programs. The Consultant: 24-25. (with T. J. Straka)

2006. Estimating log volumes of three tree species in Turkey by six formulae. For. Prod. J. 56(11/12): 84-86.

2007. A comparison of the arithmetic and geometric means in estimating stump diameter, basal area, and volume in Appalachian hardwoods. North J. Appl. For. 24: 71-73. (with J. R. Brooks)

2007. Ecoregion based tree height-diameter models for major Appalachian hardwoods in West Virginia. Proceed. 7th Annual Forest Inventory and Analysis Symposium, Portland, Maine. 13 p.

2007. Quick volume coefficient determination for point sampling. North. J. Appl. For. 24: 314-316. (with C. Dahl and B. Harding)

2008. Forestry and consulting: yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Consultant. pp. 21-23.

2008. Graduate forestry degrees and consulting forestry. The Consultant. pp. 41-42. (with T. J. Straka)

2008. Comparing double-sampling efficiency using various estimators with fixed-area and point sampling. North. J. Appl. For.25(2): 99-102. (with C. A. Dahl and B. A. Harding).

2008. Accuracy using xylometry of log volume estimates for two tree species in Turkey. Scand. J. For. Res. 23: 272-277. (with R. Ozcelik and J. R. Brooks).

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A good mensurational rule-of-thumb.

Forest Information Update 2(17)

Forestry has it fair share of rules-of-thumb, the origins lost in the dimly perceived past. Those rules come to be accepted as gospel, although their scientific basis may be flimsy if not non-existent. Mensuration is no exception. The use of 10% cruises and 1/5-acre plots survived into the early 50�s, and the notion that a point sample should include 5 to 12 trees at each point is found in our modern textbooks. Both those rules are related, I suspect, as 5 to 12 sawtimber trees might be expected in many for our forests using 1/5-acre plots. I believe the surviving rule-of-thumb is little better than the validity of the 10% cruise rule, at least for cruising sawtimber-size timber.

The best guide to the appropriate BAF or plot size is using the one that will provide the sampling error desired with the minimum amount of time in the field, and I contend that for the size tracts foresters are generally called upon to cruise, BAF�s or plot sizes providing 5 to 12 sawtimber-size trees per point or plot will rarely be optimum. For specific very large tracts, of course, larger plot sizes and smaller BAF�s, and thus 5 to 12 trees per point or plot may be appropriate. However, tracts of that size are the exception. My conclusion is strongly influenced by the results of the study reported by Gambill et al. (1985), and I have seen no studies since that time that cause me to doubt that work.

A good rule-of-thumb in mensuration is to be skeptical of any rule-of thumb.

Literature cited:

Gambill, C. W., H. V. Wiant, Jr., and D. O. Yandle. 1985. Optimum plot size and BAF. For. Sci. 31;587-594.

2001. Include volume contours on your cruise reports. Forest Information Update 2(19)...see elsewhere on this website

2001. Using the Palm in the field for data input. Forest Information Update 2(20)...see elsewhere on this website


Goodbye dbh-squared.

Forest Information Update 2(21)

Foresters have long used the transformation of dbh to dbh-squared as the prediction variable when constructing local volume tables. That was a very useful procedure before computing power became readily available, as it was much easier to calculate linear regressions than to determine and calculate appropriate nonlinear models. Unfortunately, the local volume tables constructed in this manner sometimes gave obviously poor predictions, especially for the smaller diameter classes. With the availability of powerful, almost-free software, such as the shareware program, CurveExpert, readily available for downloading off the Internet, the construction of reasonable local volume tables could not be easier. It's an exciting time to be a mensurationists!



by Harry V. Wiant, Jr. (PSU) and John R. Brooks (WVU)


Foresters in the eastern U.S. continue to use BAF 10 prisms when cruising sawtimber-size stands in spite of ample evidence that it�s a poor choice. Too many trees are missed with a BAF 10 instrument, and although a BAF 20 instrument will require around 10% more points for the same statistical precision, this is a much better choice. For those who need convincing:


BAF 10 gave sawtimber volume estimates 30% too low in Appalachian hardwoods; BAF�s of 20 and 40 gave appropriate estimates.


Basal area in southern pine stands were too low for BAF�s of 5 and 10 and unbiased for BAF�s of 20 and 40.


Basal areas and volumes in a mixed white pine-hemlock-hardwood stand in New Hampshire, testing for BAF�s of 2.5, 10, and 40, were most accurate for 40.


Using BAF�s of 5, 10, 20, and 30 in northern hardwoods, 5 gave a statistically significant underestimate.


A western mensurations recommended larger BAF�s even if average number of in-trees is 3 to 5. He states, �It is better to put in more plots (points), with fewer trees per plot, than to cause a bias by missing trees at long distance.� .


See NJAF 1(2):23-24 for literature citations, except for the western one (Can. J. For. Res. 18(6):768-773.



by Harry V. Wiant, Jr., ACF and Earl Bradley Hager

(published 2002 in The Consultant 47(2): 32-33)

Perhaps for the first time, the 3P sampling technique was used in a timber trespass inventory. The 3P method, developed by L. R. Grosenbaugh, selects trees with probability proportional to predicted volumes. The trespass occurred on a tract in West Virginia. A 7.4-acre portion (Area 1) was inventoried based on a 100% tally of stumps. A 95-acre portion (Area 2) was inventoried using 0.1-acre circular plots. The technique used and results obtained are presented using the easy-to-follow procedure described by Wiant (1976).


The steps involved in a 3P inventory are:

1. Make a rough estimate of the total volume (on the area or plots representing the area), termed KPI.

2. Determine the 3P sample size.

3. Generate random numbers between 1 and KZ (KZ=KPI/3P sample size).

4. Visit each stump on the area or plots and estimate the volume of each tree removed. We estimated the dbh using measurements of stump diameter and stump height and equations by McClure (1968). Tree volumes were estimated from the predicted dbh-values using local volume equations for species in West Virginia developed by Wiant (1989). Obtain the "actual volume" of trees whose estimated volume equals or exceeds the paired random number. In this case, measured volumes of 3P sample trees were those determined using dbh and the number of logs removed, estimated by the location of the top associated with a given stump, and volume equations for Int. � by Wiant (1986). Each such 3P sample has a measured volume/estimated volume ratio (the M/E-ratio).

5. Calculate total volume which is the sum of estimated volumes times the average M/E-ratio.

6. Calculate the sampling error.


1. For Area 1, we estimated 40 stumps per acre, with an average tree volume of 370 bf, giving a rough estimate of total volume for the area, which we assumed was 9.3 acres in size (an overestimate), of 137,640 bf (9.3*40*370).

2. The coefficient of variation (CV) for M/E-ratios for experienced foresters guessing the volumes of standing trees is generally around 20%, but we assumed in this case it would be 40 % (actual was 42%). Using the usual formula, n = t^2CV^2/E^2, with t = 1 and seeking a sampling error of 10 %, n = 16. We assumed we might find 60% of the tops associated with identifiable stumps, and therefore set the number of 3P sample trees desired (n) to 27.

3. KZ = 137,640/27 = 5098; 400 random numbers were generated between 1 to 5098.

4. Instead of 16 stumps with associated tops, 11 were found (one hazard of 3P is that the sample size actually obtained is a random variable; a contributing factor in this may have been that the acreage was less than we estimated). Estimated volumes were obtained for all stumps and "measured volumes" for the 11.

5. The sum of estimated volumes for the 307 stumps found was 59,363 bf . The average M/E-ratio was 1.107. The 3P estimated volume is 65,715 bf (59,363*1.107).

6. The CV for the M/E-ratios was 41.6 %. The standard error for such a 3P inventory is simply CV/n^0.5 = 41.6/ 11^0.5 = 12.5 %.


The inventory for this area is a bit more complicated as we are using 100, 0.1-acre plots with 3P sampling of trees (stumps) on those plots.

1. A very rough estimate of volume of trees to be sampled is needed. We estimated there would be 3 stumps per plot and trees would average 250 bf. The rough estimate is 75,000 bf (3*100*250).

2. Using similar calculations as in 2 above, we anticipated selecting 73 stumps by the 3P method and assumed associated tops could be located for about 60% of those, or 44 stumps.

3. Sufficient random numbers were generated (it is wise to generate a surplus in case they are needed) between 1 and 1027 (75,000/73 ).

4. Tops were found for 30 of the stumps selected by 3P sampling.

5. The sum of estimated volumes for the 200 stumps found was 31,970 bf . The average M/E-ratio was 1.255. The 3P estimated volume for the 100, 0.1-acre plots is 40,122 bf (31,970*1.255), or 4012 bf per acre.

6. The sampling error for the tenth-acre plot cruise was 9.3% and for the M/E-ratios was 4.7%. The combined sampling error is (9.32 + 4.72)^0.5 = 10.4%.


The 3P sampling system performed well in this trespass case. A form of double sampling may be preferred in other situations to assure the desired sample size is obtained. We would emphasize, however, that locating undisturbed tops to ascertain the logs removed and develop volume estimates is preferred to developing local volume tables from apparently similar nearby stands as such estimates can be very poor (Simpson and Wiant 1992).


McClure, J. P. 1968. Predicting tree d.b.h. from stump measurements in the Southeast. USDA For. Serv. Res. Note SE-99. 4 p.

Simpson, B. T., and H. V. Wiant, Jr. 1992. Accuracy of timber trespass cruises. North. J. Appl. For. 9:35-36.

Wiant, Jr., H. V. 1976. Elementary 3P sampling. WV Univ. Agri. & For. Exp. Stn. Bul. 650T. 31 p.

Wiant, Jr., H. V. 1986. Formulas for Mesavage and Girard�s volume tables. North. J. Appl. For. 3: 124.

Wiant, Jr., H. V. 1989. Local volume tables for West Virginia species. The Consultant 34(4): 79-80.

Harry V. Wiant, Jr. was Professor of Forestry, Division of Forestry, West Virginia University at the time this work was done. He is now the Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Forest Resources Management, School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University. He may be reached at hwiant@comcast.net. Earl Bradley Hager was a graduate student in the Division of Forestry at West Virginia University when this work was done.

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The following paper was written in the mid-1980�s but never published. It can be seen that Lewis R. Grosenbaugh and I had some differences of opinions on this topic, and I put it on this web site for its historical value.


Harry V. Wiant, Jr.

ABSTRACT � Point sampling is used often when it is not the most efficient system, especially in eastern forests during the growing season when visibility is a problem and when information other than volume is important. Reasons for this are examined and use of smaller fixed-area plots is recommended for many situations.

Most foresters are familiar with the history of point sampling. They know that it was developed by Walter Bitterlich in 1948. It was introduced into North American forestry, and its utility greatly expanded, by Lewis R. Grosenbaugh (1952, 1957, 1958). The system is now widely used for routine timber cruises and continuous forestry inventory (CFI).

It has been my observations as a teacher of forest mensuration that students become quickly enamored of point sampling, as contrasted to fixed-area plot sampling, apparently because it has an aura of sophistication if not mystery. I have concluded that this same attitude accounts for the use of point sampling by foresters in the field in many situations where it is not a wise choice. An examination of the advertised advantages of point sampling in various real-life situations may be helpful.

Note: Recognizing this paper will be controversial and because of my deep respect for the thinking of Lewis R. Grosenbaugh, who is, in my opinion, the outstanding mensurationist of our time, I solicited his personal comments. His direct quotes are interspersed. Grosenbaugh:

I am quick to agree that many point-samples have been poorly designed and that the techniques have been misapplied or abused by people who should know better. However, in most cases the obvious remedy would be better design or use of more appropriate, valid techniques, not reversion to fixed-plot designs. Also, I doubt that students become enamored of point-sampling because of its aura of mystery of sophistication. Instead, I think point- sampling of reverse-J shaped distributions of trees appeals to most foresters because it reduces the effort spent on measuring numerous small trees of little interest while it increases the opportunity of measuring much rarer but more valuable large trees.


Avery and Burkhart (1983) summarize the principal advantages of point sampling as:

1. Greater cruising speed is possible as it is not necessary to establish a fixed-plot boundary.

2. A greater proportion of large, high value trees are included in the sample.

3. DBH measurements are not required for determination of basal area and volume per acre.

4. Shortcuts can be devised which facilitate rapid, reconnaissance type cruising.

All of these advantages, when realized, are important, but often there are serious problems.


Fixed-area plots tend to preferable in three uncommon situations: (1) when the objective is to estimate only number of trees per acre; (2) when tree population is relatively homogeneous or uniform in size; (3) when the cost of measuring sample trees does not remain nearly constant, but tends to be directly proportional to tree size. Except in these three situations, my opinion is that some form of sampling trees with varying probability is apt to be more efficient than sampling trees with fixed-area plots (equal probability).
Certainly where high-cost dendrometry is employed, 3P or point-3P sampling proportional to volume or D2H is more efficient than fixed-plot sampling. Long ago I pointed out that fixed-plots tended to be more efficient for frequency estimates, horizontal line-samples tended to be more efficient for sum-of-diameter estimates, vertical line-samples tended to be more efficient for lineal foot estimates, horizontal line-samples tended to be more efficient for basal area estimates, and horizontal point-3P samples tended to be more efficient for volume or D2H estimates (for tracts below some critical area, adjusted 3P would be more efficient than point-3P).

Greater cruising speed is often not possible when there is much undergrowth or in very dense stands. This is especially true during summer months in eastern forests when foliage obstructs vision. The process of measuring the distances to and DBHs of apparently borderline trees is very time consuming, and that measurement is absolutely necessary if reliable results are to be obtained. Unfortunately, many foresters have adopted such unreliable practices as counting every other apparently borderline tree without making the distance measurement (Ek et al. 1984). In the situations described, optimum size fixed-area plots would be more satisfactory. Perhaps experience with the fifth-acre plot has discouraged use of this system, but there is evidence that much smaller plots are optimum in many situations (Gambill et al. 1985, Wiant and Yandle 1980). Cruising a typical Appalachian hardwood stand of 670 acres, Gambill (1983) found the total field time required to obtain a 10% sampling error using optimum plot size and BAF differed by only 16 minutes (7.28 versus 7.01 hours).

Presumably, point sampling selects trees in proportion to basal area rather than frequency as with fixed-area plots. This would be a real advantage when sample trees are used to develop volume equations or tables, but either system gives unbiased estimates (Yandle 1979). Therefore, this advantage is not of great importance in typical timber cruises.

DBH measurements are not necessary when point sampling for basal area or volume estimates. On the other hand, foresters are more confident of their diameter than their height measurements. Also, in most cases information in addition to volume and basal area is required, stand and stock tables for example. Data on diameters are then required. In fact, the number of trees in given diameter classes is usually as important and sometimes more important than volume or basal area figures to managers using cruise reports. Beers (1978) points out that point sampling is not as efficient as fixed-area plots for estimating frequency.

Rapid cruising is facilitated by point sampling as only variables related to height need be measured or estimated (e.g., Wiant and Maxey 1979). Double sampling, where only a tree count is made at a majority of points, is another shortcut used. Again, if reliable information is needed on diameter distributions, as in the case in the majority of cruises, these systems lose some of their appeal.


There are special problems with point sampling which have been pointed out by many investigators. Wiant et al. (1984) demonstrated the large negative bias possible from missing in-trees when point sampling. They cite other workers who found this tendency also, especially when using BAF�s of 10 or less, and it is suspected that this is a serious but undetected problem in many operational cruises.

It is not unusual for foresters to conduct cruises with legal ramifications, such as those done for tax purposes or related to trespass cases. It is obviously easier to explain in a courtroom situation before a jury of laypersons how trees are measured on a portion of the area using fixed-area plots and the results expanded to the total tract than to explain point sampling.

Point sampling replaced fixed-area plot sampling in many CFI systems. The authors have heard several noted mensurationists express the opinion that this was an unfortunate change. The calculation of growth, particularly ingrowth, is simple with fixed-area plots but complicated with point sampling. Why create problems for ourselves?


Also, I disagree with your disparagement of permanent point-samples for estimating survivor growth, mortality, harvest, and ingrowth; some noted mensurationists have frequently failed to understand the situation and have not employed appropriate methodology. Ingrowth can be validly estimated in several ways. Upon each return to a permanent point for subsequent measurements, any newly qualifying tree that might conceivably be younger at breast-height than the period since preceding measurement should be bored and permanently rejected if older. If younger, its frequency should be computed using the current DBH, and it will be classed as ingrowth for the preceding period. It will be classed as a survivor, mortality, or harvest in subsequent periods. All survivors retain the frequency computed for them when they entered the sample. Those persons especially interested in greater representation of very small trees could supplement the permanent point by a 1-4 milacre surround in which trees less than 5 inches DBH could be tallied (a permanent plot for small trees). After 20 or 30 years, if the sample of survivors dropped Below some minimum, the entire process could be repeated.


Point sampling, beautiful in theory but often difficult in application, has a valid role to play in forest inventory, especially for rapid estimations of basal area and volume. In many situations, however, fixed-area plots are less complicated and more efficient. Obviously, there is no one best sampling system; the system selected should be tailored to the specific timber conditions and inventory requirements. When this is done, fixed-area plots will often be a more logical choice than point sampling.


I have no quarrel with your conclusion, except the last sentence � I doubt that "fixed area plots [for trees] will often be a more logical [or efficient] choice" than some form of sampling with varying probability � which might include horizontal line, horizontal point, vertical line, horizontal point 3-P, pure 3P, and multiple concentric fixed-plots (the ancestor of horizontal point-samples).

Literature Cited

Avery, T. E., and H. E. Burkhart. 1983. Forest Measurements. 3rd ed., McGraw-Hill Book Co., N.Y. 331p.

Beers, T. W. 1978. Developing efficient estimation techniques for integrated inventories. USDA For. Serv. RM-55. p. 270-275.

Ek, A. R., D. W. Rose, and H. M. Gregersen. 1984. Inventory design and the ten-plot-per-stand syndrome. North. J. Appl. For. 1:76-79.

Gambill, C. W. 1983. Optimum plot size and basal area factors for sampling Appalachian hardwood forests. Thesis, Div. of For., West Virginia Univ., Morgantown. 172 p.

Gambill, C. W., H. V. Wiant, Jr., and D. O. Yandle. 1985. Optimum plot size and BAF. For. Sci. 31:587-594.

Grosenbaugh, L. R. 1952. Plotless timber estimates � new, fast, easy. J. For. 50:32-37.

Grosenbaugh, L. R., and W. S. Stover. 1957. Point-sampling compared with plot-sampling in southeast Texas. For Sci. 3:2-14.

Grosenbaugh, L. R. 1958. Point-sampling and line-sampling: probability theory, geometric implication, synthesis: USDA For. Serv. South. For. Exp. Stn. Occ. Pap. 160. 34 p.

Wiant, Jr., H. V., and W. R. Maxey. 1979. Board-foot factors for point sampling J. For. 77:29.

Wiant, Jr., H. V., and D. O. Yandle. 1980. Optimum plot size for cruising sawtimber in eastern forests. J. For. 78:642-643.

Wiant, Jr., H. V., D. O. Yandle, and R. Andreas. 1984. Is BAF 10 a good choice for point sampling? North J. Appl. For. 1:23-24.

Yandle, D. O. 1979. A generalization of techniques for sampling finite populations that are spatially distributed in two or more dimensions. P. 966-982 in Forest Resources Inventories. Colo. State Univ., Ft. Collins.

Yandle, D. O., and H. V. Wiant, Jr. 1981. Comparison of fixed-radius circular plot sampling with simple random sampling. For. Sci. 27:245- 252.

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by Harry V. Wiant, Jr.

Probably the most intensive and expensive 3P inventory of sawtimber for a 2800-acre tract ever done was conducted as a result of the expansion of the Redwood National Park in the late 1970's and early 1980's. This virgin stand is located in Humboldt County, California, and is comprised mostly of redwood and Douglas-fir. It was of such high value that the Arcata Redwood Company, which owned the land and timber, employed the Natural Resources Management Corporation of Eureka, CA to obtain volume estimates for both old-growth redwood and old-growth Douglas-fir, within plus or minus 1 % at the 95 % level of confidence. The 3P sampling system was used to attempt to achieve this precision.

The 3P Strategy

The 3P method, developed by Lewis R. Grosenbaugh to eliminate volume table bias, who, along with Harry V. Wiant, Jr., were retained to handle the statistical aspects of this inventory, required an estimate of the volume of each tree and careful measurement of sample trees selected with a probability proportional to predicted volume. Each sawtimber tree with any merchantable volume on the tract, over 144 thousand trees, was visited by trained field crews and volume estimates were made using the best volume tables available.

Over 4500 trees (2833 redwoods, 1703 Douglas-fir) were dendrometered for volume determination using the STX program developed by Grosenbaugh. Dendrometry consisted of measuring tree heights and upper-stem diameters at 20 feet and several points up the bole using Barr and Stroud dendrometers or Gurley-Teledyne transits. .


A crew of up to 30 foresters worked 2 years collecting data, not all of this directly related to the 3P inventory. The total cost for this work exceeded a million dollars, but the client received over 100 million more dollars than first offered by the government. A sampling error of 1.1 % was obtained for both old-growth redwood and old-growth Douglas-fir, and those volume were accepted by the court. The total volume, Scribner rule, was about 250 mbf per acre. One tree, amazingly enough, had 21, 16-foot logs, and many individual trees at the time of this work had a stumpage value of more than 30 thousands dollars. .

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Old-growth redwood, 250 feet tall, 8 feet dbh (around 800 years old)

Gunstick used to direct fall into the layout

Slanting cut, called the "humboldt" so tree won't roll when it hits the stump

The layout made to cushion the fall

Tree is on its way

On the ground


Second-growth redwood 70' tall, 14" dbh, 75 yrs old; stump 12' tall

Sprouting after cutting old-growth redwood

The ARCO (Arcata Redwood Company) giant

Living Douglas-fir stump; root grafted to a living tree

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