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    Author(s): Kamalakanta SahooRichard BergmanSevda Alanya-RosenbaumHongmei GuShaobo Liang
    Date: 2019
    Source: Sustainability. 11(17). 30 p.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    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.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Sahoo, Kamalakanta; Bergman, Richard; Alanya-Rosenbaum, Sevda; Gu, Hongmei; Liang, Shaobo. 2019. Life cycle assessment of forest-based products: a review. Sustainability. 11(17). 30 p.


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    Life cycle assessment, lumber, engineered wood products, mass timber, nanocellulose

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