Harvesting means the felling of trees and transporting them from the forest to an intermediate storage site, most commonly a wood pile beside the nearest logging road within a distance of 100–500 meters from the harvesting site. The transport of wood from the intermediate storage to where it will be used, such as a mill, is called long-distance transport.
In principle, there are two methods of harvesting wood: the tree-length method and the Nordic cut-to-length method, or shortwood logging or assortment method. The latter one is generally used in Finland and the Nordic countries. In this, the tree stems are cut on site to the measurements desired by the user. In the tree-length method, the stems will only be cut to measure on the intermediate storage site or at the ultimate point of use. The tree-length method is common outside the Nordic countries.
In Finland harvesting work is almost always done mechanical with harvester, but the same work can be carried out by a lumberjack and a chainsaw, called manual harvesting. Harvester is a machine operated by one person. It is used to fell, de-branch, cut in preferred lenghts and to measure the volume of the trees. In both mechanized and manual harvesting, the forest tractor in its turn transports the logs to the intermediate storage site, most commonly a wood pile beside the nearest logging road. The combination of harvester and forest tractors is called the harvesting chain.
Harvester is also called a multi-function or multi-process machine. It is a machine operated by one person. It is used to fell, de-branch, cut in preferred lenghts and to measure the volume of the trees. Harvester also sorts the cut timber into piles by timber grade.
Strip road is a track in the forest along which the harvester moves and the felled timber is taken away by the forest tractor.
A harvester separates and sorts the timber into piles beside the strip road, and a forest tractor then collects it to an intermediate storage, most often beside a logging road. The strip roads are planned before logging by the harvester operator or the logger.