In the Alps, forests are generally multi-functional, and they are classed according to their primary role as production, protection or recreation forests. The dominance of one of these roles does not exclude all the others, although it shapes management, which must reflect the primary role of each forest. That is also the case of protection forests, which must be managed for their secondary production and recreation roles as well. What is more, management is a vital requirement because it supports forest health, and therefore periodic harvesting remains a necessity. However, the physical conditions that characterize a protection forest (e.g. extremely steep terrain, sensitive soil, remote location etc.) and the prescriptions of a specifically designed silviculture tend to constrain harvesting and make it especially difficult. Special harvesting equipment and novel approaches to harvesting are required in order to achieve environmental, social and financial sustainability. This study reports about cable yarding in a protection forest, under conditions that are representative of the challenges encountered when negotiating this forest type. The productivity of the yarding operation was 6.1 m3ub ub SMH-1 for the yarding distance of 135 m, an average load of 0.88 m3 and a lateral distance of 20 m. Of the remaining trees, 27.1% were damaged during forest operations due to felling, log contact or falling rocks. Falling rocks have a great influence on log quality and value. Consequently, 73% of conifers and 90% of broadleaves are C class logs or other lower grade wood, making a large impact on the economy of the operation.