Proposal for a method aiming at the quantification of the impact of wood extraction in Life Cycle Assessment

IRG/WP 98-50113

P Esser, E Van der Voet

Life Cycle Assessment has been accepted as an instrument for the assessment of the environmental impact of products. Characterisation factors for impact assessment of emissions from products have been established. To date no characterisation factor exists for the extraction of biotic resources, for example wood. Since the main disadvantage of using wood as a material lies in the extraction of resources, in view of the rapidly declining world forest resources, this implies that complete LCA studies for such products are not possible. In order to amend this gap, the Centre of Environmental Science and the Centre for Energy Conservation and Environmental Technology in the Netherlands have published a study on development of a methodology for incorporation of extraction of biotic resources, with two case studies on timber and fish (Sas et al., 1997). TNO has now proposed several adaptations to this method. The principle of the method, using indicators for selective harvesting and for degradation of ecosystems remained the same. It is recognized that more work needs to be dedicated to updating and improvement of the quality of the data used. The aim of this paper is to present a case study on a Norway spruce and a Meranti wood product to show the potential of this new method. This may serve as a basis for discussion and as an example for testing the applicability of the proposed method. It is hoped that this will stimulate further research activities in this area.


Conference: 98-06-14/19 Maastricht, The Low Countries

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