German forestry machines

german forestry

We have written about Swedish forestry, what kind of machinery that is being used and have been developed in Sweden – for Swedish conditions. Although the Swedish, and Finnish, machines are good they don´t fit in everywhere.

German forestry and logging equipment

The Swedish machine manufacturers are, together with the Finnish colleagues, World-leaders in developing forest machines for cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting. CTL is the most common system in those countries and has been so since the 1970s. Today, full tree handling is only used here when it comes to power line poles, or other poles for special purposes.

Log Max Harvester Heads

The Swedish and Finnish manufacturers have also been very successful in exporting both their machines and the CTL technology to countries all over the World. So successful that some of them don´t even have machines for full tree handling in their ranges.

Full tree handling is still common

Worldwide, full tree handling in forestry is still the most common method. Also in Germany, that we are looking at in this article, full tree handling is quite common. Many machine owners operate in both systems and therefore need both types of machines.


Some of the largest forestry machine manufacturers, such as Tigercat, John Deere and Caterpillar, offer both types of machines and are of course very common. However, there are also some other brands. At the forestry show DLG Waldtage in September last year there were some examples displayed. (Unfortunately, we have to refer to one of last year’s shows as there are no shows this year, for obvious reasons)

german forestry
The Pfanzelt clambunk skidder Felix.
German forestry
The Equus 175 clambunk skidder.

The two clambunk skidders on the above photos are examples of mid-sized skidders that are available in quite a few brands and models that you see a lot of in the German forests.

There are also smaller machines, like this skidder application for a tractor from Uniforest.

german forestry
A skidder attachment for farm tractors from Uniforest.

and this small remote-controlled model from Pfanzelt.

german forestry
The Pfanzelt mini-skidder Moritz.

German adaptions

What do you do if you actually want a Swedish or Finnish machine and still want to use it as a skidder? Or if you are an importer of Swedish/Finnish machines and get many requests for such solutions? Well, you can do like some of the importers in Germany – you can adapt the machines to German conditions.

One good example of that is the German Ponsse dealer Wahlers who offers a combination of forwarder and skidder such as the Ponsse here below. It is a normal Ponsse forwarder that has been modified by Wahlers in Germany to suit the German market.

german forestry
A modified Ponsse forwarder that can be used both as clambunk skidder and forwarder. The bunk at the far back has been replaced with a special bunk that also is a clambunk. This special clambunk can also be lifted to make the stems easier to pull.


Also, when it comes to harvesters there are special ones for German and central European conditions. Here below are three examples.

german forestry
german forestry
The Königstiger harvester.
german forestry
The Menzi Muck harvester is a climbing machine that is supposed to work in very steep terrain. It´s basically a modified excavator.

For some reason, tracked harvesters, or excavator-based harvesters, are not common in Sweden and Finland. The reason is probably a combination of tradition and the fact that in those two countries, purpose-built harvesters have been around for a very long time. Also, this type of machines was invented here.

The purpose-built harvesters are more suitable in most types of terrain. On the other hand, excavator-based harvesters are much cheaper.

When you think about it, Germany has a lot of more over-sized trees in their forests than Sweden and Finland. So, maybe it´s understandable that they sometimes need machines like the Königstiger on the photo here above.

A small branch makes it difficult 

When you look at this you realize how difficult it must be for machine manufacturers to adapt to all needs when it comes to logging equipment. Forestry is different in different parts of the World. The terrain and the trees look different depending on where you are. At the same time, the total amount of needed forestry machines is very low compared to e.g. agricultural and construction machinery. So, there is no wonder why logging equipment is expensive compared to other types of machinery.

Photos: Per Jonsson

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