Timber harvesting requires planning harvest and reforestation; cutting trees; processing, sorting; and transporting materials. Timber harvesting is a complex process. It is done in a number of steps. The first step is called Felling. Cutting the tree from the stump is called felling. In the past, this was done with the help of an axe or bow-saw. Now chainsaw is used as it increases efficiency. Mechanized felling is also used. Some of the machines that are used in the modern day for felling are wheeled feller-buncher, tracked feller-buncher, harvester, steep terrain harvester, walking harvester, etc.
The next stage is called extraction. This is the process of pulling the tree from the forest area to a landing. When the trees are pulled out of the forest, it is known as skidding. When they are carried on a trailer the process is called forwarding. Ground-based harvesting is referred to the process of harvesting system when extraction machine is taken into the forest. The cable skidder is the most common machine used for this purpose. Agricultural tractors, ATV’s and horses are also used for this process. In case of extraction in wet regions, a shovel can be used.
The third stage of timber harvesting is processing. After the tree has been extracted, it should be processed before loading into the truck. Processing includes taking the branches off, topping the tree, cutting the stem into logs, etc. All these tasks can be carried out using a chainsaw. The trees can also be processed at the stump. The wood may be chipped on site as well if the wood is used for producing paper and pulp. After the trees are processed into logs, a loader will be used to stack, sort and load into the logging trucks. Loaders are usually found in the trailer-mounted form. For more mobility on the landing, track-based loaders can also be used. The loader is usually used for a certain portion of the log processing. In the final stage, a vehicle with log bunk and tractor on the same framework is used to pull short logs.
There are several modern machineries available that makes timber harvesting much easier than it was in the past. These machineries allow trees to be cut neatly and processed well. The transporting of materials is also much easier now. After harvesting, it is essential to plat more trees in order to fill in the gaps.