Forestry Journal:

This piece is an extract from our A View from the Forest (previously 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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THERE is a certain boxiness to the way it holds itself together – each body part clinging onto another – that oozes an endearing, sepia-tinted quality. One quick glance and it's obvious this is not a machine of the 21st century, instead caught somewhere between the days of axes and fire lookout towers, and the modern world's drones, biofuel and instant, almost relentless feedback.

It was just this week, when digging through Forestry Journal extensive archive, that I stumbled upon one of forestry's 'lost' brands. Volvo BM (the former construction wing of the brand best known for its family-friendly SUVs and estates) once offered foresters a choice beyond excavators, its 861 forwarder not an entirely uncommon sight in the UK's woodlands. 

Forestry Journal: While now operating as Weiler Forestry in North America, CAT previously supplied a range of forestry machines While now operating as Weiler Forestry in North America, CAT previously supplied a range of forestry machines (Image: FJ archive)

But looking back at the images now, there's also a tinge of sadness. In the two photographs spat out by our system, both 861s (at least I am sure they are both 861s, but happy to be corrected) appear to have been left at the back of a yard, out of the way, not quite the first pick on a Monday morning any more. One of the machines, in a snap dated from 2007, even wears the old Forestry Commission logo, its crown faded by the years. 

Forestry Journal:

Trying to find out information about Volvo's foray into forestry proves a challenge, most internet results taking you straight to information on an 861 Dumptruck. A single page on the excellent Forestry Memories website tells of one Volvo being used in 1986 in Lochaber, but the manufacturer's forestry adventure appears to be fading with the years. 

When you consider the names already lost to time – such as CAT (albeit its forestry wing was purchased by American company Weiler Forestry), Gremo, or Silvatec (another being revived in a way, this time by Nordic firm Euromatic) – it shows you how much the forestry machinery landscape has changed over the years. 

Forestry Journal: Gremo, another brand lost in recent years Gremo, another brand lost in recent years (Image: FJ)

It's not quite wholly dominated by the major players now, but there's a certain novelty in looking beyond the big names when choosing a machine you'll see more than your children. 

It's just a bit of shame that choice is forever being diluted by the unwavering march of progress and time.