Effects of cycle length and plot density on estimators for a national-scale forest monitoring sample design
The resilience of a National Forest Inventory and Monitoring sample design can sometimes depend upon the degree to which it can adapt to fluctuations in funding. If a budget reduction necessitates the observation of fewer plots per year, some practitioners weigh the problem as a tradeoff between reducing the total number of plots and measuring the original number of plots over a greater number of years. Here, we explore some of the effects of differing plot intensities and cycle lengths on variants of three general classes of estimators for annual cubic meter per hectare volume, using a simulated population and appropriately-graduated sampling simulations. The simulations showed that an increase in cycle length yielded quite dramatic effects while differences due to a simulated reduction in plot intensity had more subtle effects.