Comparing methods for determining forest sites: a case study in Gumushane-Karanikdere forest

Altun L., Baskent E. Z., Bakkaloglu M., Gunlu A., Kadiogullari A. İ.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF FOREST RESEARCH, vol.127, no.5, pp.395-406, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 127 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10342-008-0223-9
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.395-406
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Forest site classification has long been a problem for managers of Turkish forests. Forest management decisions and land use planning involving afforestation activities and silvicultural prescriptions are based on sound site information to formulate appropriate actions on the ground. In Turkey, two methods of forest site productivity are used; direct and indirect method. Indirect methods are usually reserved for practical applications as they are relatively simple, yet provide less accurate estimation of the real productivity. In this study direct, indirect and remote sensing (RS) methods were used to distinguish and map forest sites of Karanlikdere Forest District in Gumushane, Turkey. One hundred and twenty-two sample plots were established with 300 m x 300 m grids in summer of 2003. In each sample plot, soil samples and the classical timber inventory measurements were taken. According to direct method, water-air economy method is preferred due to a water deficiency in the study area. Four different forest site classes; very dry, dry, moderate fresh and fresh were determined and mapped with geographic information system (GIS). In indirect method, the guiding curve was used to generate anamorphic site indexes (SI) of three classes; good (SI = I and II), medium (SI = III) and poor (SI = IV and V). Furthermore, forest sites were estimated with Landsat 7 ETM (2000) data using supervised classification with a 0.843 kappa statistic value and 88% accuracy assessments. Some important differences between the methods were discovered. The indirect method indicate that site indices I and II are 298.5 ha, III 254.3 ha and IV and V 347.7 ha. In contrast, direct method related to very dry site of 107.7 ha, dry site of 484.6 ha, moderate fresh site of 304.7 ha and fresh site of 246.3 ha. Satellite image indicate that very dry site covers 291.2 ha, dry site 239.2 ha, moderate fresh site 287.4 and fresh site 325.5 ha. Approximately 242.8 ha area (open and degraded areas) were not determined by indirect method but were captured with RS method. The statistical analyses (ANOVA) showed no statistically significant (F = 0.720, p = 0.543) relationship between indirect method and direct method-RS method indicating clearly that indirect method is not an adequate measurement of forest site productivity. Forest sites, particularly in open and degraded areas should be determined with direct method.