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EFO-LCI: A New Life Cycle Inventory Database of Forestry Operations in Europe

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Life cycle assessment (LCA) has become a common methodology to analyze environmental impacts of forestry systems. Although LCA has been widely applied to forestry since the 90s, the LCAs are still often based on generic Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). With the purpose of improving LCA practices in the forestry sector, we developed a European Life Cycle Inventory of Forestry Operations (EFO-LCI) and analyzed the available information to check if within the European forestry sector national differences really exist. We classified the European forests on the basis of "Forest Units" (combinations of tree species and silvicultural practices). For each Forest Unit, we constructed the LCI of their forest management practices on the basis of a questionnaire filled out by national silvicultural experts. We analyzed the data reported to evaluate how they vary over Europe and how they affect LCA results and made freely available the inventory data collected for future use. The study shows important variability in rotation length, type of regeneration, amount and assortments of wood products harvested, and machinery used due to the differences in management practices. The existing variability on these activities sensibly affect LCA results of forestry practices and raw wood production. Although it is practically unfeasible to collect site-specific data for all the LCAs involving forest-based products, the use of less generic LCI data of forestry practice is desirable to improve the reliability of the studies. With the release of EFO-LCI we made a step toward the construction of regionalized LCI for the European forestry sector.
Journal: Environmental Management
ISSN: 0364-152X
Issue: 6
Volume: 61
Pages: 1031 - 1047
Number of pages: 17
Publication year:2018