Highlights: Self-control method was found reliable at the main stages of the forest regeneration process; Only slight overestimation was found in self-control results of soil preparation and planting and small underestimation in self-control of young stand management; Diverse utilizing of self-control data is possible in support of service providers operations.
This study seeks to determine the extent to which self-control data can be relied upon in the management of private forests. Self-control (SC) requires the forest workers to evaluate their own work quality to ensure the clients’ needs are met in terms of soil preparation, planting and young stand management. Self-control data were compared to an independent evaluation of the same worksites. Each dataset had a hierarchical structure (e.g., sample plot, regeneration area and contractor), and key quality indicators (i.e., number of prepared mounds, planted seedlings or crop trees) were measured for each plot. Self-control and independent-assessments (IA) were analyzed by fitting a multi-level multivariate model containing explanatory variables. No significant differences were observed in terms of soil preparation (number of mounds) or young stand management (number of crop trees) between self-control and independent-assessments. However, the self-control planting data included a slight but significant overestimation of the number of planted seedlings. Discrepancies are discussed in terms of sampling error and other explanatory factors. According to overall results, self-control methods are reliable at every stage of the forest regeneration process. As such, the diverse utilizing of self-control data is possible in support of service providers operations.