Centre for Alternative Technology

Britain's major centre for environmental inspiration and courses.



a horse pulling a log guided by a woman


Tractors and other machines can be used to extract timber from a woodland and they certainly do have their uses. However due to their weight and size, they can do considerable damage to the woodland both to the soil, especially in wet areas, and to trees that are still standing. They also contribute to the carbon footprint of woodland management. For these reasons, at CAT we prefer to use other methods such as horse logging (pictured above) and log flumes.

Horse logging does still cause some damage to the soil, however this damage is localised and less than that which is often caused by machines. It also requires a smaller track along which to drag the logs.

Log flumes are an open top tube. The one we have at CAT is made from tough blue plastic sections that are joined together so that the flume is the desired length. The tube is then secured in place so that it doesn't snake about and the logs are slid down it to the landing place. With this method, it is important that the area around the end of the fume is secured so that no one walks through it when logs are coming down, as they can shoot out quite fast.

Conversion and Processing Broadleaf Management Conifer Management Coppicing Extraction Tree nursery