We use some essential cookies to make this website work.
We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use forestresearch.gov.uk, remember your settings and improve our services.
Preparing to search
A harvesting system is a succession of operations to fell, process and extract timber products to an loading area. The choice of a given system will depend on a combination of factors including: terrain conditions, access, crop characteristics, products assortment, availability of equipment and labour, operational costs, scale of the operations, long term objectives for the stand (see Managing Harvesting).
In this system the tree is felled and delimbed, and extracted to roadside by a skidder or cable-crane system. The pole is then generally cross-cut into various products, sorted and stacked for collection, although it can sometimes be transported to the sawmill to optimise conversion. A variation of this system is the part-pole length system, where the stem is cut into sawlog lengths at stump.
This system only uses the stem wood and results in crown and branch wood residues, and is generally best suited to trees with a volume greater than 0.1 m3. Bear in mind that, particularly with broadleaved species, the branchwood can form a very significant proportion of the tree which could also be processed into fuel.
From an operational point of view, this system generally require ample conversion and stacking space at roadside; and in the case of skidder extraction, there may be a high risk of damage to soil and crops depending on conditions.
In this system the tree is felled, de-limbed and crosscut into the different product specifications at stump, and only marketable products are then extracted, generally by forwarder. The smaller the number of products, the more efficient the system. Stem, crown and branchwood are used generally down to a specific diameter size, and unmarketable products are left on site.
In this system, the whole tree is extracted and processed into marketable products, either by whole tree chipping, integrated harvesting combining conventional roundwood products and chipping of residues, or residue harvesting taking place separately from conversion to conventional roundwood products.
In this system little or no residues are left on site; the suitability of such systems depending on site type must be evaluated. There is guidance on site selection for brash removal downloadable here.
Products are accumulated prior to chipping either by forwarding or skidding, and a terrain chipper then processes the material into a trailer or bin which can be extracted to roadside. This system might also result in very little residues left on site and its suitability for a given site should also be evaluated. There is guidance on site selection for brash removal downloadable here.
Cookies are files saved on your phone, tablet or computer when you visit a website.
Find out more about cookies on forestresearch.gov.uk
We use 3 types of cookie. You can choose which cookies you're happy for us to use.
These essential cookies do things like remember your progress through a form. They always need to be on.
We use Google Analytics to measure how you use the website so we can improve it based on user needs. Google Analytics sets cookies that store anonymised information about: how you got to the site the pages you visit on forestresearch.gov.uk and how long you spend on each page what you click on while you're visiting the site
Some forestresearch.gov.uk pages may contain content from other sites, like YouTube or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. These sites are sometimes called ‘third party’ services. This tells us how many people are seeing the content and whether it’s useful.