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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Sustainability Impact Assessment of Forest Operations: a Review

Schweier, Janine; Magagnotti, Natascia; Labelle, Eric R.; Athanassiadis, Dimitris


Purpose of Review One of the challenges of forest operations is to consider the consequences of different management strategies and to estimate the economic, environmental and social performance of different processes, products, or services. From the methods available to quantify the impact of alternative forest management, we selected the method of Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA), an iterative process that includes the analysis of the societal, environmental, and economic sustainability pillars and offers a wider assessment framework, which is useful for stakeholders and policy makers. The purpose of this review is to identify the state of the art and trends of SIA in forest operations. Recent Findings There are few studies including all pillars of sustainability and most of the studies consider different aspects of environmental or economic impacts. It is important to determine the system boundaries and select the appropriate indicators in order to have a comprehensive SIA. Different harvesting technologies and their deployment can influence costs, productivity, environment, and safety risk. Some indicators, such as cost and productivity, can vary between countries and different scenarios. Efficient machines, appropriate technical systems, innovative products, and up-to date training of operators can have a positive impact on sustainability. Economic factors can change at a rapid pace, and new machines can play a positive role in forest operations (e.g., lower fuel consumption, higher level of safety and comfort for operators). The inclusion of indicators measuring the extra value of the forest should be considered. We suggest adopting sensitivity analysis during the assessment of key processes to observe the effect on the hot spots.


Sustainable management; Bioeconomy; LCA; Logging; GHG; Indicators

Published in

Current Forestry Reports
2019, Volume: 5, number: 3, pages: 101-113

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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