Fact Sheets

Challenges in Characterizing the Effects of Forest Management on Biodiversity in LCA

Land uses, including forest management, have long been accompanied by dialogue about sustainability. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has emerged as a tool for assessing the environmental sustainability of producing goods and services, including forest products, by organizing and considering relevant scientific information associated with their production. To date, however, few LCAs have addressed environmental aspects of land use, including potential effects on biodiversity, and there is ongoing debate about approaches for doing so. As a result, a need for new methods has emerged that would allow consideration of land-use effects, specifically the effects of forest management on biodiversity into LCAs. The current LCA methodological framework poses unique difficulties for incorporating biodiversity considerations, especially for forest management, which may hamper the ability for land use and biodiversity to be objectively and comprehensively incorporated into LCAs.