If the assessment work is carried out by someone who is not registered as a pruned stand certification auditor, then the stand must be visited by an auditor and have the pruning boundary and about 25% of all measurements checked for accuracy. If the auditor carries out the full assessment task, there is no need for further auditing.
Once accuracy constraints are satisfied, the auditor forwards the completed measurements and maps to AFG. AFG carries out the data processing and graphics work, issues the PSC certificate, and archives a photocopy of the certificate with the original data and maps. Certificates are uniquely numbered and the grower receives the only original. However, if the certificate is lost, a new one can be issued, and original data and maps can also be made available.
How much does it cost?
AFG currently charges for its services. The auditor will charge independently and the amount will obviously depend on how much of the task is completed by the owner or owner's agent. Even the provision of a 'title plan' map or aerial photograph and property legal description details will save the auditor considerable time and consequently cost to the owner. Charges by the auditor will vary depending on the many variables—travel distance, access, weed hindrance, quality of work and so on.
An example for a small farm plantation might be:
- The owner carries out all assessment and mapping work to the required standard, and the owner's input is not considered in the cost; and
- The auditor checks map details and pruning quality, and re-measures two assessment plots. A total of 3 hours (including travel) is charged on each of the three pruning lift assessments.
Pruned stand certification charges are relatively independent of stand area, so doubling the pruned area, for instance, effectively halves the cost per unit area.
Based on New Zealand experience, the cost of pruned stand certification may range from $2/m3 to $6/m3 for pruned sawlogs.
However, a price list for pruned logs from one New Zealand region shows a range of $60/m3 based on log quality, and this range is supported by log sales in other regions. It is this premium that must be captured to justify the pruning cost, and the small additional investment in PSC will help achieve this. If the full assessment cost were accounted for, the PSC charge would be considerably higher but still quite small in comparison with both the pruning cost and the possible range in pruned log price.