LAND USE IN LCA
Capturing the potential biodiversity effects of forestry practices
in life cycle assessment
Received: 8 March 2016 /Accepted: 7 June 2017 /Published online: 19 June 2017
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017
Purpose The pressure of forestry operations on biodiversity is
not appropriately characterized using existing life cycle inven-
tories and impact assessment methodologies. As a conse-
quence, it is not possible to distinguish between well-
managed and poorly managed forests in terms of biodiversity.
Several attempts have been made to establish a biodiversity
impact assessment method to be used in life cycle assessment
(LCA). Those methods cannot be easily implemented by prac-
titioners, or they cannot be used to differentiate forestry prac-
tices. We therefore propose an alternative approach that re-
quires limited data collection, while reflecting effects of for-
estry practices on biodiversity.
Methods This paper demonstrates that the biodiversity level
of managed boreal forests can be captured in LCA by means
of a relatively simple method based on known forestry prac-
tices and using the notion of hemeroby, compatible with pre-
viously proposed approaches for biodiversity assessment.
This method allows differentiating between wood products
produced with different forestry practices from one and the
same forest type.
Results and discussion The proposed method is a clear im-
provement compared to commonly used approaches: it does
not require measuring field data yet allows the quantification
of potential environmental impacts of different forestry prac-
tices in boreal forests. The proposed inventory data and char-
acterization factors can contribute to better assess the biodi-
versity impacts or benefits of forest management practices.
Conclusions The present description demonstrates how a bio-
diversity evaluation can be conducted in the case of boreal
forestry and how the way it is built converges to values that
are comparable to field measurements. It also opens doors for
similar methods to be developed for tree plantations under
other climates and further to other types of land use.
1 Introduction and objective
1.1 Current state of science
The biodiversity assessment of land use, land use change, and
forestry is an important topic in LCA and has been the subject
of numerous publications (Forest Europe 2002; Koellner and
Scholz 2007; Curran et al. 2011; Koellner et al. 2013;de
Souza et al. 2013; Yamaguchi et al. 2016). Indeed, there is a
need to account for biodiversity loss (or gain) related to dif-
ferent human activities in general, and in forestry management
practices in particular, to be able to give biodiversity impacts
related to land use the importance they deserve in environ-
mental decision making, especially for products with signifi-
cant land use impacts in their supply chain.
Currently, the need for biodiversity accounting is not satis-
fied in LCIA because there is a lack of adequacy between the
Responsible editor: Hans-Jürgen Garvens
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article
(doi:10.1007/s11367-017-1352-5) contains supplementary material,
which is available to authorized users.
* Vincent Rossi
Quantis, EPFL Innovation Park (EIP-D), 1015 Lausanne, CH,
UPM Raflatac, 33100 Tampere, FI, Finland
Nestec Ltd., Avenue Nestlé 55, 1800 Vevey, Switzerland
Int J Life Cycle Assess (2018) 23:1192–1200