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Technical Development develops, evaluates and promotes safe and efficient equipment and methods of work and provides output information, specialist services and advice on forest operations.

Our areas of work cover:

  • Woodland operations
  • Land reclamation for forestry
  • Training (selected).

Woodland Operations

Best practice advice, technical workshops and operational efficiency assessment covering machinery, equipment, systems, work methods and productivity in large, medium and small scale forests and woodlands, including:

Silviculture and Soils – soil classification and site assessment, tree species and mixtures selection and management, continuous cover forestry

Harvesting and extraction – large scale timber production including motor-manual, harvester / forwarder and winch systems on all types of terrain. Also covering continuous cover forestry

Establishment – mechanical ground preparation and drainage on restocking and new planting sites and in continuous cover forestry. Also covering motor-manual and machine establishment operations such as planting, weeding, re-spacing and pre-commercial thinning

Chemicals – pesticide use in forest tree protection and weed control. Also covering pollution control and regulations for transport, storage, use and environmental safeguards

Biomass and small woodlands – establishment, protection and harvesting of Short Rotation Coppice and ‘single stemmed’ Short Rotation Forestry crops. Also covering terrain chipping and harvesting of small woodlands using farm-based or small scale equipment

Forestry equipment standards – we also contribute to the development of British and International standards on:

  • Hand held pesticide applicators
  • Aerial pesticide application (some aspects, including Small Unmanned Aircraft)
  • Safety matters on large forestry machinery.

Small unmanned aircraft – having used ‘drones’ for forestry aerial surveying since 2012 we provide technical support to FC on the use and management of SUAs.

Windfarms in forests – how to accommodate turbines and roads within existing forests by adapting woodland design and operations

Land reclamation for forestry

Fundamental practical operations for establishing new woodland on derelict land and other brownfield, degraded former industrial sites. Includes ground preparation, organic soil amendments, drainage, forest design, planting and species choice in brownfield regeneration.


Practical courses on some aspects of Woodland Operations including soil and site recognition, tree species selection, continuous cover forestry, pesticide application and tariffing.

Our Work Study background

Technical Development has evolved from FC Work Study Branch established in 1956. We are foresters with practical experience in forestry operations and management, holding various qualifications. Our historical reports give detailed background on a wide range of specialist operations.

The assessment of different working methods provides quantitative (costs, outputs) as well as qualitative information (for example degradation of brash mats, or suitability of a type of machine to given site and/or crop conditions).

These elements can yield:

  • Benchmark costs for given operations in given conditions
  • Suggestions for method development and improvement
  • Indications of method suitability and limitation in given site/crop conditions.


Technical Development is funded to provide specific services to Forestry Commission each year. Our work is supplemented by external income generation through the TD Forest Operations consultancy service.

Knowledge dissemination

We share and disseminate knowledge within the forest industry via:

  • Our enquiries service
  • Attendance at forestry events and shows
  • Publication of findings
  • Specific workshops and seminars, organised on request to address specific technical issues.


We have produced internal FC technical reports since 1956 and have both current reports and archive material from both Work Study Branch and Technical Development.


We are based at the Forestry Commission complex in Ae Forest, with good access across Scotland, England and Wales.

Contact us

Silviculture, Training & General:  Jens Haufe   0300 067 5919

Pesticides, Machinery & SUAs (Drones) :  Bill Jones  0300 067 5910

Soil Survey & Environment:  Verity Brosnan  0300 067 5585