The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 1593–1606 | Cite as

Greenhouse gas emissions from forestry in East Norway

  • Volkmar TimmermannEmail author
  • Janka Dibdiakova



So far no calculations have been made for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forestry in East Norway. This region stands for 80 % of the Norwegian timber production. The aim of this study was to assess the annual GHG emissions of Norwegian forestry in the eastern parts of the country from seed production to final felling and transport of timber to sawmill and wood processing industry (cradle-to-gate inventory), based on specific Norwegian data.


The life cycle inventory was conducted with SimaPro applying primary and secondary data from Norwegian forestry. GHG emissions of fossil-related inputs from the technosphere were calculated for the functional unit of 1 m3 timber extracted and delivered to industry gate in East Norway in 2010. The analysis includes seed and seedling production, silvicultural operations, forest road construction and upgrading, thinning, final felling, timber forwarding and timber transport on road and rail from the forest to the industry. Norwegian time studies of forestry machines and operations were used to calculate efficiency, fuel consumption and transport distances. Due to the lack of specific Norwegian data in Ecoinvent, we designed and constructed unit processes based on primary and secondary data from forestry in East Norway.

Results and discussion

GHG emissions from forestry in East Norway amounted to 17.893 kg CO2-equivalents per m3 of timber delivered to industry gate in 2010. Road transport of timber accounted for almost half of the total GHG emissions, final felling and forwarding for nearly one third of the GHG emissions. Due to longer road transport distances, pulpwood had higher impact on the climate change category than saw timber. The construction of forest roads had the highest impact on the natural land transformation category. The net CO2 emissions of fossil CO2 corresponded to 2.3 % of the CO2 sequestered by 1 m3 of growing forest trees and were compared to a calculation of biogenic CO2 release from the forest floor as a direct consequence of harvesting.


Shorter forwarding and road transport distances, increased logging truck size and higher proportion of railway transport may result in lower emissions per volume of transported timber. A life cycle assessment of forestry may also consider impacts on environmental categories other than climate change. Biogenic CO2 emissions from the soil may be up to 10 times higher than the fossil-related emissions, at least in a short-term perspective, and are highly dependent on stand rotation length.


Carbon footprint Greenhouse gas emissions LCA LCI Norwegian forestry Timber transport 



The Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute and the project KlimaTre (funded by The Research Council of Norway, grant number 199332) provided the financial support required to undertake this study. The authors would like to thank Leif Kjøstelsen for conducting numerous field studies and Anders Møyner Eid Hohle for providing required data for forestry operations. The authors are grateful to Lars Gunnar Tellnes, Lone Ross Gobakken, Gry Alfredsen and Bruce Talbot for their various contributions, helpful comments and suggestions. Sincere thanks are given to Holger Lange and Janne Kjønaas for their contributions to the statistical analysis and the soil carbon matter, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Forest and Landscape InstituteÅsNorway

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