Forestry works and your safety
Forestry is a cycle . We plant, manage, thin and fell trees used to make all sorts of products – from timber and toilet roll, to fencing and kitchens. Then we start all over again. At the same time we make sure that we're also looking after wildlife, protecting the environment and providing access and facilities for people to enjoy the forests.
While forests are generally calm and quiet, when we need to thin or fell trees they become a hive of industry:
Forestry machines and vehicles
We've come a long way from axes and handsaws. Advances in technology have provided us with powerful machines to make our work fast and efficient:
Harvesters are large forest vehicles which cut down trees. These all-terrain machines have an articulated boom holding a harvester head. This is used to fell and strip the tree's branches, then cut them into logs, in one swift process. This is effortlessly done in just a few seconds – that’s how powerful they are.
- Read: The Man in the Cab to find out about the life of a harvester, in one of the world's most high-risk jobs
Forwarders are large vehicles that pick up and carry logs from stump to roadside. They often work alongside a harvester during forestry operations. They use an articulated arm to lift the logs clear of the ground, and can carry loads between 12 and 20 tonnes.
Getting logs from the forest to the mill is, perhaps surprisingly, a very difficult and dangerous job. Timber lorry drivers have lost their lives driving large loads through challenging conditions and the industry is making a huge effort to improve their safety.
Felling trees manually is one of the most dangerous jobs in forestry. At times it's claimed lives – but where machines can’t go, humans must. On tricky sites close to overhead power lines, or near roads and buildings, our highly-skilled operators fell using chainsaws, keeping work as safe as possible for the public.
Signs and safety
If you’re out in the forest, you may come across signs warning you of forestry works. Sometimes routes have to be closed or diverted. Please follow the signs to ensure your safety, and the safety of forestry workers.
- Try: and find your way out of the woods with our interactive choose your own adventure story.