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Mr Steve Lane

Steve LaneMr Steven Lane

PhD student

Topic: Nonparametric estimation and prediction of tree size-class distributions

University of Melbourne


Predicting and estimating size-class distributions (SCDs), for example tree diameter, at breast height (DBH) is well established in the forestry literature; however, most approaches assume the distribution comes from a known parametric distribution family, or that it is unknown and is estimated by the stand’s percentiles. Predictions of the size-class distributions at some point T in the future SCDs can then be related to stand-level characteristics, generally through an iterative process.

Available data consists of individual rotation-length tree data from five plantation field experiments (with multiple re-measurements). Due to the nature of this data, I aim to exploit the functional relationships that will arise over time. By not restricting the analysis to a defined parametric distribution or functional form, more general structures can be investigated, and it is through this process that I believe more efficient predictions of size-class distributions will be made. I will also explore how size-class distributions react to various initial planting densities and various environmental and/or stand-condition variables that may then be useful in linking statistical and process-based modelling approaches.

I come to this project after graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, and after working at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. I have an ongoing relationship with the ABS.

My supervisors are Dr Andrew Robinson from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne, and Dr Tom Baker and Dr Yue Wang from the Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, at The University of Melbourne.

My PhD studies contribute to CRC for Forestry Research Project 1.3: Modelling and Information Integration, in the Managing and Monitoring for Growth and Health program (Program One).

To browse other PhD projects available with the Program One, click here.