Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Aaron Weiskittel

Committee Members

Saul Allen, Pascal Berrill, Keith Kanoti, Anil Raj Kizha

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the basal area factor (BAF) of a variable radius plot and its effects stand level measurements. This type of forest inventory is used widely across Maine. These inventory methods can have effects on how a forest is portrayed numerically, which in turn effects the management prescriptions and decisions. The objective of this study was to compare the tradeoffs between inventories using a 10, 20, and 30 BAF prism and examine how these different methods effect different parts of an inventory. This includes analyzing how the inventory may vary in terms of volume, basal area, trees per acre, and species representation. Additionally, the efficiency and standard error differences between BAFs was analyzed. Future projections made using FVSonline were also compared. Data collection was done on Nickerson Tree Farm in Greenville, Maine. Between the 3 BAFs used as well as the stand types, a two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was ran to test of statistical significance using a .95 confidence interval. This ANOVA suggested no statistical significance for any of the variables, except stand type and trees per acre. There were also measurable tradeoffs between the different BAFs that were used, which suggests practical significance outside where the ANOVA was applied. This includes the fact that smaller BAFs tend to favor smaller standard error across all measurements, as well as more diverse species distribution. Additionally, there are many different benefits to larger BAFs, including speed and getting a quick look at low quality stands that are not favorable for management.