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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of forest supply chains: Comparison of Canadian and Swedish case studies

de la Fuente, Teresa; Athanassiadis, Dimitris; Gonzalez-Garcia, Sara; Nordfjell, Tomas


This study took a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) perspective to model a total of twenty forest supply chains, from seedling production to forest biomass delivery to industry. Four scenarios were analyzed, two in Sweden and two in Canada. Resource and energy consumption, and emissions to air, water and soil of conventional and biomass dedicated supply chains were evaluated and compared.The Swedish supply chains showed a better environmental profile, on average, per oven dry tonne (0Dt) than the Canadian ones in the regions studied. In terms of climate change potential the Swedish biomass dedicated supply chains generated 48.8 kg CO2-eq, 13%, 30% and 38% lower than Swedish conventional, Canadian biomass dedicated and Canadian conventional supply chains, respectively. Sawlogs from final felling in the Swedish biomass dedicated supply chains generated 34.2 kg CO2-eq, the lowest emissions within the roundwood assortments. Concerning the forest fuel assortments in form of wood chips, pulpwood from final felling in the Swedish conventional supply chains, and stump core and long tops from final felling in the Swedish biomass dedicated supply chains generated the lowest emissions: 48.9 kg CO2-eq, 52.3 Kg CO2-eq and 57.8 kg CO2-eq respectively. Transport from forest to industry, harvesting, extraction, chipping, and crushing were identified as hotspots in the forest supply chains. Forwarding versus skidding, chipping and transportation were the processes that differed the most between countries.In both countries, when the supply chains were biomass dedicated the environmental impacts per ODt were lower than in the conventional supply chains. Therefore, integrating forest fuel supply with industrial wood harvesting has the potential to reduce emissions. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Energy wood Forest biomass Forest fuel Harvesting system Renewable resources Sustainable supply chain

Published in

Journal of Cleaner Production
2017, Volume: 143, pages: 866-881