Estimating forest conversion rates with annual forest inventory data
The rate of land-use conversion from forest to nonforest or natural forest to forest plantation is of interest for forest certification purposes and also as part of the process of assessing forest sustainability. Conversion rates can be estimated from remeasured inventory plots in general, but the emphasis here is on annual inventory data. A new estimator is proposed based on analysis of plot-level variables that indicate when a change in forest condition occurs between inventory remeasurements. A weighted maximum likelihood estimator is derived that incorporates the binomial nature of the indicator variables, mapped plot conditions, and varying remeasurement periods. Example applications demonstrate the utility of the proposed methodology. This approach is broadly useful for estimating the annual rate of change from an initial condition to another condition from annual forest inventory data.