European Union
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727883


Forest biomass is one of the most important source of renewable energy and accounts for almost half of the Europe’s total renewable energy consumption. In addition to raw materials, forests also play an es­sential role in climate change mitigation (like CO2 capture), safeguarding biodiversity, providing non-wood forest products and recreational environments. There is thus an emerging paradox of producing more wood in a more sustainable manner, meaning an energy-efficient operation in the respect of the forest environment; this to assure also the availability of the non-wood products.

The Innovation Action Forwarder2020, co-financed by the European Commission, has the main aim of improving sustainability of wood production and delivery as well as operational forest management and planning. This will be achieved by developing specific innovations for more efficient forwarders (wood extraction and transportation vehicles).



Forwarders are of particular interest because these forestry machines have:

  • the biggest wheel load (due to the carrying of the load)
  • the biggest impact on unpaved, travelled forest soil (skid trails usually are not stabilized or paved like forest roads),
  • to bridge big travelling distances between the felling points in the stand and the road side timber depots and

Improvement of eco-friendliness and operational productivity of the forwarders will have the biggest direct effects on the route to a more sustainable forest operation.

Forwarder2020 project has then set the following objectives:

  • Minimize damages on forest soils by reducing ground pressure under the wheels to avoid deep ruts, soil compression and reduction of growth of fine roots
  • Improve the fuel economy to decrease the need of fuel transport to the operation site and work interruption
  • Improve driver’s comfort to diminish impact on the health and increase motivation of the operators
  • Improve the timber harvesting on wetlands
  • Improve transparency and documentation of the timber production
  • Decrease the costs per volume extracted

Forwarder2020 will develop 5 innovative components for Forwarders focusing on:

  1. Environment protection:
    • Reduce of fuel consumption during long hauling distances thanks to a new power-split transmission. Indirectly reduce the number of forest roads needed
    • Minimize rut depth by means of a hydro-pneumatic suspension that lowers the dynamic wheel loads and enables more lightweight design of the structural components at the same payload and same driving speed
    • Avoid extreme ruts while extracting timber from wetlands with a real rear triple-bogie axle
    • Reduce the impact of forestry in many unexploited forest regions
  2. Better efficiency:
    • Lower fuel consumption and increased loading speed of the crane by using a energy recuperation system
    • Lower fuel consumption compared to existing hydrostatic transmissions by 30% due to the efficiency of the hydrostatic-mechanical power-split transmission
    • More precise control of the forwarder during driving on uneven terrain due to the hydro-pneumatic suspension
    • Less fatigue for the operator due to the vehicle suspension for higher concentration over a longer period
  3. Better decision making in forest operational planning
    • Precise documentation of vehicle movements and loads carried on skid trails give the option to exactly monitor, record, plan and control the forwarding process

Demonstration under real conditions

Forwarder2020 innovations will be integrated into two prototypes that will be tested under real environmental condition at 3 locations by our consortium partner: United Kingdom by CSP Forestry LTD Limited, Lithuania by Aleksandro Stulginskio universitetas and a local enterprise and in Romania by Sc. Treforex S.r.l.. Before beginnign the real demonstration prototypes will be functionally tested by the project Coordinator Hohenloher Spezial-Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG and by Forstdienstleistungen Hegenbarth.

It was a fundamental prerequisite of the Forwarder2020 project to include end-users to test the machines in real operating conditions.


Benefits and Impacts

Sustainable and smart logging is at the core of Forwarder2020 solutions by permitting:

sustainable forest management decisions and operations: reduce fuel consumption during driving on long distances by 30%, double recuperation of the potential energy to save 30% of the fuel during loading and unloading of the forwarder

Lower environmental impact of forest Management and harvesting operations:

Low density of forest roads because of high efficiency on long hauling distances thanks to the innovative transmission system.

Less rutting due to lower dynamic wheel loads (25%), thanks to the suspended axle.

Reduction of the ground pressure by approx. 50% on wetlands due to the triple bogie.

Better planning, online-control and quality assurance of harvest operations due to the monitoring system

Saving fossil fuel and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions: innovative forwarder will reduce the fuel consumption during loading/unloading and during driving off road by approx. 30%

Massive reduction of the risk to suffer of the occupational disease of back problems for the operator: vehicle suspension of the new forwarder reduce the low frequency vibrations by 70% at the same driving speed off-road.

Reduced need for truck roads networks; thus reduced negative ecological impact through truck roads:

The more attractive job for Forwarder operator due to the vehicle suspension

The transport of short-wood on the forwarder is more economical and the need for more forest road is minimize

Sustainable supply of quality wood for the growth of forestry Enter-prises in the bio-economy and the creation of new jobs in SMEs

Supplying to the market a unique and modular system of high-end solutions above the competitors, where the customer can make his choice of equipment and bear no higher costs for the modules not chosen.