New NCASI report discusses methods for characterizing forest-related land use impacts in life cycle assessment

Forests provide many important functions, goods, and services such as support for biological diversity, clean water, carbon storage, recreational opportunities, and the raw materials required to manufacture products that society needs and demands. Land uses, however, including the management that provides products and services from forests, have long been accompanied by dialogue about sustainability.

Recently, that dialogue has expanded to include discussion about the environmental aspects of all stages in the production of goods and services, and life cycle assessment (LCA) has emerged as a tool for organizing and considering relevant scientific information. As a result, there is growing recognition of the need to integrate consideration for land use impacts such as those related to forestry into LCA. However, few LCAs have addressed the environmental aspects of land use, and there is ongoing debate about approaches for doing so.

NCASI recently posted Special Report No. 15-04, Methods for Characterizing Forest-Related Land Use Impacts in Life Cycle Assessment on its website. This Special Report discusses proposals for evaluating land use impacts in LCA, including a general framework proposed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). The report also explains impact assessment in LCA, how evaluation of land use impacts fits in that context, different proposals for biodiversity and ecosystem services impact indicators for use in LCA, and challenges related to addressing biodiversity and ecosystem services through LCA.

Member company employees, as well as government and academic personnel, may request a printed complimentary copy of this report by calling (352) 331-1745.