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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Saws face axe in forests of future
Laser technology (generic)
Laser technology could be adapted for forestry in the future
Technology that would not look out of place in a science fiction film could be used to fell trees in Wales in the future.

Forestry Commission Wales is speculating that chainsaws and axes could get the chop in favour of Star Wars-style laser beams and tree trunk stripping machines on legs.

The FCW's light-hearted examination of new technology at the Royal Welsh Show was a look ahead to how forestry in Wales might look in 2050.

The tree-stripping machine on legs is a reality
Clive Davies of FCW

As part of the show's centenary celebrations, the FCW has also looked back into the archives, including the land girls who left home after World War II to work in the forests.

FCW spokesman in Wales Clive Davies said: "Trees are still being felled by chainsaws at the moment, but it's conceivable that they may be chopped down by laser beams in the future - who knows?

"The tree-stripping machine on legs is a reality. It's already in use in Finland, but when you see it in action it's like something out of an Arnie or Star Wars blockbuster.

Machine in forestry in Finland
The Forestry Commission has been showing how machines are already used in Scandinavia

"It prowls the forests on its legs picking up trunks and using its implements to strip the trunks.

"I understand there's no plans yet to introduce it in Wales, but it's a remarkable machine."

  • Meanwhile, an agreement has been signed at the Royal Welsh Show on Wednesday.

    It is aimed at turning Wales into an international destination for horse riding that could be worth 27m every year.

    Environment Minister Carwyn Jones witnessed the signing of a concordat by Forestry Commission Wales and British Horse Society Cymru to boost an activity that already brings about 18m a year into the Welsh economy.

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