Conducting sustainability impact assessments of forestry-wood chains: examples of ToSIA applications

Abstract

Within the EFORWOOD project, new methodological approaches to assess the sustainability impacts of forestry-wood chains (FWC) were developed by using indicators of environmental, social and economic relevance. This paper introduces and discusses the developed approach and the two main products developed in the EFORWOOD project: the Database Client and the Tool for Sustainability Impact Assessment (ToSIA), which hold, calculate and integrate the extensive information and data collected. Sustainability impact assessment (SIA) of FWCs is based on measuring and analysing environmental, economic and social indicators for all of the production processes along the value chain. The adoption of the method varies between applications and depends on the specification of the FWC in the assessment and what questions are studied. ToSIA is very flexible and can apply forest-, product-, industry- and consumer-defined perspectives. Each perspective influences the focus of the analysis and affects system boundaries. ToSIA can assess forest value chains in different geographical regions covering local, regional, national and up to the continental scale. Potential issues and scenarios can be analysed with the tool including, for example, the impacts of different forest policies on the sustainability of an FWC. This paper presents how ToSIA can be applied to solve such diverse problems and underlines this with examples from different case studies. Differences in chain set-up, system boundaries and data requirements are highlighted and experiences with the implementation of the sustainability impact assessment methods are discussed. The EFORWOOD case studies offer valuable reference data for future sustainability assessments.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the European Commission (FP6) through the EFORWOOD project (Project no. 518128). We would like to thank numerous project partners for the fruitful cooperation in the different ToSIA applications. A large number of EFORWOOD experts contributed in different ways to the work outlined in this study.

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Correspondence to Marcus Lindner.

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This article originates from the context of the EFORWOOD final conference, 23–24 September 2009, Uppsala, Sweden. EFORWOOD—Sustainability Impact Assessment of Forestry-wood Chains. The project was supported by the European Commission.

Communicated by T. Seifert.

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Lindner, M., Werhahn-Mees, W., Suominen, T. et al. Conducting sustainability impact assessments of forestry-wood chains: examples of ToSIA applications. Eur J Forest Res 131, 21–34 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-011-0483-7

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Keywords

  • Sustainability impact assessment (SIA)
  • Decision support system
  • Forest-based sector
  • Material flow
  • System boundaries