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Extraction is the process of transporting cut timber from the place where it was growing to a point where it can can be removed from site. There are a wide range of different methods of timber extraction and they vary in their strengths and weaknesses, and in the sites where they are most appropriate. Unless the site is particularly vulnerable to damage, machinery will nearly always be used to extract timber. On the most vulnerable sites, or when extracting the very smallest products (like coppice poles) extraction may be carried out using horses. there is more information about using horses for forestry work on the British Horse Loggers Association website.

Extraction machinery

Forest machinery developments have been rapid over the last decade, with a diverse range of available machines that are highly efficient and affordable.

Purpose built or agricultural tractor-trailer units equipped with a loading crane. They come in a range sizes and extract converted products by lifting them entirely clear of the ground. Variations include All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) based units and mini/midi tractor variants.

Purpose built tractors, which extract by lifting one end of full-length trees clear of the ground and pulling them to roadside. Variations include All terrain vehicle (ATV) based units and mini/midi tractor variants.

These include: Tractor cradles: a purpose made frame or box unit which mounts on an agricultural tractor 3-point linkage system. Produce is manually loaded into the cradle. Tractor-mounted hydratongs: a tractor-based unit equipped with hydraulically operated tongs, which extracts by lifting one end of full-length trees clear of the ground and pulling them to roadside. Tractor and wire loader: drum winch based system using an adjustable ‘A’ shaped frame, that can be mounted on a tractor.

Ropeway systems where timber is extracted by means of moving cables, powered by a static tractor or lorry powered winch. The timber load can be carried wholly or partially clear of the ground. Examples include skyline and high lead systems.

These are purpose built or agricultural tractor units, in a range of size, comprising of a bulk container or trailer unit, a loading crane and a chipper unit. Produce is normally processed directly into the container or trailer.

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