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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Title: Life cycle assessment of forest-based products: a review

Source: Sustainability. 11(17). 30 p.

Author(s)Sahoo, Kamalakanta ; Bergman, Richard ; Alanya-Rosenbaum, Sevda ; Gu, Hongmei ; Liang, Shaobo

Publication Year: 2019  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4851-7B

Abstract: Climate change, environmental degradation, and limited resources are motivations for sustainable forest management. Forests, the most abundant renewable resource on earth, used to make a wide variety of forest-based products for human consumption. To provide a scientifc measure of a product’s sustainability and environmental performance, the life cycle assessment (LCA) method is used. This article provides a comprehensive review of environmental performances of forest-based products including traditional building products, emerging (mass-timber) building products and nanomaterials using attributional LCA. Across the supply chain, the product manufacturing life-cycle stage tends to have the largest environmental impacts. However, forest management activities and logistics tend to have the greatest economic impact. In addition, environmental trade-offs exist when regulating emissions as indicated by the latest traditional wood building product LCAs. Interpretation of these LCA results can guide new product development using biomaterials, future (mass) building systems and policy-making on mitigating climate change. Key challenges include handling of uncertainties in the supply chain and complex interactions of environment, material conversion, resource use for product production and quantifying the emissions released.

Keywords: Life cycle assessment; lumber; engineered wood products; mass timber; nanocellulose

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 2,048 kb(s)

Date posted: 09/11/2019

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 95059
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
Bergman, Richard
Research Forest Products Technologist
Gu, Hongmei
Forest Products Technologist

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- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

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Advanced Structures

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Forest Biorefinery

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Woody Biomass Utilization

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