A PERVADING view of foresters is that – for better or worse – they like what they like, and don't like what they don't. And they really don’t like change. That's, of course, unfair and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, even if it often feels like reform and innovation move at a glacial pace in an industry that’s always got the long term in mind.

No more is this seen than in efforts from many of the major manufacturers to convert foresters and arborists to electric chainsaws. Like preachers punting wares in a suspicious land, each new battery-powered saw is said to be the answer to the world’s problems, the one you definitely can’t miss out on. Judging by our writers and the wider discussion online, recent tools have been meh at best and downright subpar at worst.

READ MORE: Husqvarna unveils 'first electric saw with a clutch'

No wonder the big guns are upping their game. Stihl's MSA 300 is making quite the impression*, and, just last week, Husqvarna unveiled what it called the world’s first electric chainsaw with a clutch; this has certainly got people talking.

The 542i XP and T542i XP are aimed at converting petrol users to battery-powered tools, while offering “outstanding cutting capacity”.

“It is incredible,” Husqvarna ambassador Krista Strating (not surprisingly) said during the release video. “The ability to be able to climb around and make cuts you need, but have the new higher cutting capacity with the clutch, is the coolest thing.

“If you are not a fan of battery-powered saws, this might change your mind. I am very impressed.”

Forestry Journal: Husqvarna launched a range of products last week Husqvarna launched a range of products last week (Image: PR)

Whether or not putting a clutch on an electric chainsaw is a sliding doors moment for the move to battery-powered tools won’t be known for some time. The product is set for an August release, yet, if our readers’ feedback is anything to go by, it will be even longer before foresters on the ground get one in their hands.

But it’ll be exciting to see what innovation is next, and to hear what they have to say about the latest step on forestry’s journey to battery power.

* In May’s Forestry Journal, Simon Bowes has reviewed Stihl’s MSA 300 and he was impressed, suggesting the tide is turning.

This piece is an extract from this week's Forestry Features newsletter, which is emailed out at 4PM every Wednesday with a round-up of the week's top stories. 

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