Technical Development Services

Technical Development develops, evaluates and promotes safe and efficient equipment and methods of work and provides output information, specialist services and advice on forest operations.

Our areas of work cover:

Woodland Operations

Best operational practice in large, medium and small scale forests and woodlands, including: 

  • Establishment and maintenance
  • Integrated forest operations
  • Environment management
  • Harvesting and transport
  • Woodfuel

For more information see Woodlands operations.

Land restoration

Fundamental practical operations for establishing new woodland on derelict land and other brownfield, degraded former industrial sites. See Land reclamation.

TD Forest Operations consultancy service

Best practice advice, technical workshops and operational efficiency assessment covering machinery, equipment, systems, work methods and productivity in:

o Harvesting and extraction - large scale timber production including motor-manual, harvester / forwarder and winch systems on all types of terrain. Also covering continuous cover forestry

o Establishment - mechanical ground preparation and drainage on restocking and new planting sites and in continuous cover forestry. Also covering motor-manual and machine establishment operations such as planting, weeding, re-spacing and pre-commercial thinning

o Chemicals - pesticide use in forest tree protection and weed control. Also covering pollution control and regulations for transport, storage, use and environmental safeguards

o Biomass and small woodlands - establishment, protection and harvesting of Short Rotation Coppice and 'single stemmed' Short Rotation Forestry crops. Also covering terrain chipping and harvesting of small woodlands using farm-based or small scale equipment

o Land reclamation for forestry - ground preparation, organic soil amendments, drainage, forest design, planting and species choice in brownfield regeneration

o Windfarms in forests - how to accommodate turbines and roads within existing forests by adapting woodland design and operations

Technical Development has evolved from FC Work Study Branch established in 1956. We are foresters with practical experience in forestry operations and management, holding professional Management Services qualifications. Our historical reports give detailed background on a wide range of specialist operations.

The assessment of different working methods provides quantitative (costs, outputs) as well as qualitative information (for example degradation of brash mats, or suitability of a type of machine to given site and/or crop conditions).

These elements can yield:

  • Benchmark costs for given operations in given conditions
  • Suggestions for method development and improvement
  • Indications of method suitability and limitation in given site/crop conditions.

Some examples of our forestry operations evaluations:

  • Produced benchmark outputs and costs for a range of ground preparation techniques (scarification, spoil trench mounding, hinge mounding), as well as for woodfuel production in conifer thinnings and clearfells
  • Studied techniques for incorporating organic soil amendments with soil forming material on ex industrial sites in central Scotland being restored for forestry
  • Analysing alternative forestry systems from the continent for continuous cover and helping develop techniques suited to British crops, soils, climate and our wide ranging objectives.


Technical Development is funded to provide specific services to Forestry Commission each year. Our work is supplemented by external income generation through the TD Forest Operations consultancy service.

Contact us

We are based at the Forestry Commission complex in Ae Forest, with good access across Scotland, England and Wales

Contacting us

If you are interested in these services or would like further information then  telephone 0300 067 6935 or contact:

Michael Wall
Forest Research
Technical Development
Forestry Commission
Ae Village
Scotland DG1 1QB

Tel: 0300 067 6935