Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of industrial pine Roundwood production in Brazilian forests

Fabiane Salles FerroDiogo Aparecido Lopes SilvaFelipe Hideyoshi IcimotoFrancisco Antonio Rocco LahrSara González-García

Pine (Pinus oocarpa) wood has great economic importance in Brazil. Pine stands represent the second largest reforested area in the country due to their industrial interest. Combining the relevance of industrial pine stands in the country and corresponding environmental concerns, this current study aims to identify and quantify the environmental impacts derived from industrial pine roundwood production in Brazil. The environmental study was developed considering the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology according to ISO14040 framework. The study convers the life cycle of pine roundwood production from cradle-to-forest gate perspective and considers the current practices in the country. The production system was divided in five main stages: Soil preparation, seedlings plantation, forest management, forest harvesting and infrastructure establishment. The environmental profile was estimated considering characterization factors from the ReCiPe method, in terms of twelve impact categories. According to the results, forest harvesting stage was identified as the environmental hotspot being the main responsible of contributions to nine impact categories under assessment with contributing ratios ranging from 21% (e.g., freshwater eutrophication) to 76% (e.g., photochemical oxidants formation). The high amount of fossil fuel required by heavy machinery used in the activities involved in this stage is behind this result. Soil preparation stage reported also an outstanding contribution in categories such as freshwater eutrophication (37%) and toxicity related categories (≈35%). The rationale behind these contributions is associated with the use of chemical fertilizers, mostly superphosphate. The identification of the environmental hotspots in forest biomass production can assist the Brazilian forest practitioners to improve the environmental profile by means of the optimization of forest practices.

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