To understand forest technology, it is crucial to remember that the discipline is about people as much as it is about trees. Put another way, man at work is a concept which is central to forest technology.
What precisely is forest technology? Broadly defined, it is the study and analysis of operations, work methods, logistics and economics as these relate to the utilization of forest resources. This encompasses safety and health-related topics such as work science, accident analysis and reporting, and heat stress. By some definitions, forest technology is synonymous with forest engineering.
Forest technology is also crucially important to sustainable forest management. And, given the current harvesting rate of about three billion cubic metres per year, sustainable forest management will become increasingly important in the coming years.
Forest technology also encompasses environmentally sound forest harvesting and transport operations. These are essential components of sustainable forestry as they ensure the maintenance of the productivity of forests and the associated benefits.
The key to sustainable forest harvesting lies in applying the best knowledge available to critical components of the harvesting operation: harvest planning, construction and maintenance of forest roads, felling and extraction, and post-harvest assessments.
These web pages provide an overview of FAO's contribution to promoting environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially acceptable forest operations. It focuses on some of the main components of the forest harvesting operation and emphasizes the importance of each of these in sustainable forest management.