Featuring 100 tables and 76 figures – now available in Excel and Powerpoint! Learn More
This study analyzes global supply of and demand for forestry equipment, including both purpose-built forestry machinery and agricultural and construction equipment adapted for use in forestry applications.
Production by Region
The dominance of the US and Canada, and Western Europe can be attributed to their advanced manufacturing sectors, and high levels of product demand. Manufacturers operating in these regions invest heavily in technological innovation and have extensive product portfolios, allowing them to export extensively. The Asia/Pacific region is the world’s third largest supplier of forestry machinery, with much of its production concentrated in China, Japan, and South Korea. The industries in these countries are significantly different in their product lines and market position:
Manufacturers in China primarily supply chainsaws, and construction and agricultural machinery modified for forestry applications.
Producers in Japan and South Korea generally specialize in high-end, heavy forestry equipment; a substantial number of chainsaws, attachments, and other less expensive products are made in these nations.
Latin America and Eastern Europe are smaller producers of forestry equipment due to their lower levels of product demand and less advanced industrial bases. Suppliers in both regions also face stiff competition from industry leaders in other parts of the world, resulting in higher levels of imports and fewer export sales opportunities.
While most Asia/Pacific countries will continue to rely on external sources of supply and run large trade deficits, manufacturers in China, Japan, and South Korea will greatly increase shipments to other parts of the Asia/Pacific region and beyond, allowing the region to maintain a trade surplus. Chinese suppliers will also benefit from strong domestic sales growth, and the quality of locally made forestry machinery, attachments, and parts will continue to improve.
Global wood prices have a major impact on both levels of logging activity and forestry equipment demand. Although wood prices vary from country to country to some extent (because of differences in local market conditions and production costs, as well as the type and quality of the wood), they tend to converge around an average price, and pricing trends tend to be fairly similar because wood is a widely traded commodity. Among the factors that affect the price of wood in a particular country are:
overall economic conditions
changes in local demand patterns, often influenced by changes in manufacturing activity and construction spending
demand for wood products
restrictions on logging and other government regulations impacting the forestry sector
currency fluctuations, which have an impact on the international wood trade
Global wood prices are volatile because of major fluctuations in global manufacturing and construction activity, the two most important end use markets for industrial roundwood.
The following types of products are covered:
chainsaws (encompasses all chainsaws used in forestry operations, including chainsaws utilized only in on-site processing applications)
feller bunchers and other felling equipment (e.g., feller directors, feller chippers, feller forwarders, feller skidders, harwarders, and harvester-skidders)
other extracting equipment (e.g., cable yarding systems, farm tractors, shovel loggers, all-terrain vehicles, helicopters, combination machines)
on-site processing equipment
chippers and grinders
delimbers (e.g., flail, gate, pull-through, and stroke models), slashers, and wood splitters
other forestry equipment (e.g., loaders, mulchers, dozers and other logging site preparation machinery, brushcutters, scarifiers, tree planting machines, spreaders/sprayers, slash bundlers)
separately sold parts and attachments (including harvesting and other cutting heads; saw chain, guide bars, blades, and teeth)
In addition to equipment used directly in mechanized and motor-manual (principally chainsaw-based) felling, extracting, on-site processing, and loading operations, the study covers equipment (such as dozers) used to prepare sites for harvesting operations.
Excluded from the scope of the study are:
chainsaws used in construction, emergency rescue, lawn and garden care (including professional arborist products), and all other non-forestry settings
vehicles utilized to transport personnel and equipment to and from forestry sites
on-road trucks and trailers used to transport logs and wood chips from the landing to sawmills and other off-site facilities
used forestry equipment of all types
personal protection products like helmets and gloves; and axes, handsaws, and other non-powered equipment (such as log sleds/skids designed to be pulled by horses) used in manual logging operations
Excluding manual forestry operations, there are three major wood harvesting methods or systems: cut-to-length (or short-wood), whole-tree (or full-tree), and tree-length.
Equipment is categorized based on what is determined to be its main use in forestry operations worldwide, although some products are used in more than one application:
Chainsaws, for example, are classified here as a felling product, even though on numerous logging sites, especially in developed nations, heavy machinery like feller bunchers is used to fell trees, and chainsaws are utilized to delimb and buck them.
Harvesters are also considered a type of felling equipment, although they are subsequently used to delimb trees and cut them into sections before setting them down.
Complicating matters is the fact that many base machines can be converted from one type of forestry machine to another by changing attachments.
In addition, it is not uncommon for a base machine (like a construction-type excavator) to be bought from one manufacturer, and the cutting and bunching head and other components needed to convert it into a feller buncher to be purchased from one or more other suppliers:
In order to avoid double counting in situations such as this, product demand is considered to be for a single piece of forestry equipment.
The sales figures provided for separately sold parts and attachments are for replacement components and products bought for installation on an existing machine (for example, to convert a used farm tractor into a cable logging tower).
Historical data for 2010, 2015 and 2020, and forecasts to 2025 and 2030 are provided for demand in current (including inflation) US dollars and/or units. Forested land is calculated in hectares and roundwood production in cubic meters.
Global demand for forestry equipment is forecast to expand 3.8% per year to $9.3 billion in 2025, an improvement over the 2015-2020 performance. After growing swiftly between 2015 and 2018, sales of forestry machinery stagnated in 2019 and fell 9.0% in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through 2025, however, global forestry activity will expand and the outlook for the related equipment market will improve as:
economic conditions stabilize around the world and international trade and foreign investment recover
wood prices rebound from lows reached in 2020 in many parts of the world
manufacturing activity grows, and new wood-composite materials and goods are introduced as alternatives to less environmentally friendly products (e.g., plastics)
global construction spending – notably residential construction activity, which is particularly wood-intensive in places such as the US, Canada, and Scandinavian countries – accelerates, and the use of more advanced building techniques in developing nations grows
forestry operations in mature markets adopt newly developed, state-of-the-art technologies to maximize their productivity, comply with new regulations, and reduce their impact on the environment
use of more machinery-intensive logging techniques grows in many developing nations, aided by increasing availability of purpose-built forestry equipment, improved access to financing, and inflows of foreign capital
Technological Innovation Driving Value Gains & Providing Opportunities to Sustain Industry
Technological innovation will play a leading role in boosting the forestry equipment market, as almost all leading suppliers of this machinery have had or are planning large product launches in 2021 and 2022. The next generation of forestry equipment and attachments incorporates numerous innovative technologies (e.g., advanced sensors and software) that are transforming their capabilities.
Although the working conditions of forestry mean that complete automation is not on the horizon as it may be in mining or agriculture, new generations of equipment with updated operating systems and increased automated processes are being offered. Notable innovations include:
more fuel-efficient forestry equipment
machines with sophisticated connectivity and data gathering capabilities
use of drones to survey terrain, identify where machines will be most effective, and identify ideal trees for cutting
Wider spread implementation of smarter and more advanced equipment offers long-term opportunities for the forestry industry by making it easier for operators – both in larger, developing areas like Russia and Indonesia as well as in places like Western Europe, where forestry has long been established – to use sustainable practices that preserve an area’s natural forestry resources.