We evaluated the quality of data being collected for the Japanese National Forest Inventory (NFI). The inventory program commenced in 1999 but has not incorporated a quality assurance (QA) program; we sought to determine what effect this was having on the quality of data being collected. Forty-eight plots in four prefectures were measured by operational field teams and then remeasured by a control team that made careful and unhurried measurements. The paired data were evaluated, including diameter, total height, tree count, species richness, and topographic condition. Compared to the control team, all field teams of each prefecture tended to significantly underestimate all of the continuous variables. Most variables had larger variability in the inventory data than has been reported in the published literature. The findings of consistent bias and large variation in the field team measurements call for urgent implementation of a quality assurance program (extensive field training and regular remeasurement) in the Japanese NFI to improve data quality, and this conclusion could be applied to the inventory system of any country that does not include a QA program.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Environmental Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law