Concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and a possible future shortage of fossil resources are leading toa growing demand for wood biomass as a renewable material and energy source. In this context, forestryactivities are increasing to meet the larger demand for wood biomass supply. Hence, there is also anincreasing need for assessing environmental costs and impacts of forestry operations, considering bothdirect and indirect inputs supporting wood production systems as well as main outputs, co-products,and by-products. In this study, a multi-method assessment encompassing material, energy, and emergydemand as well as relevant emissions was implemented to explore the environmental performance andsustainability of timber and wood biomass production in the Alpine context of Fiemme and Fassa Valleys,Province of Trento (Italy). The Energy Return On Investment (EROI) calculated for timber and wood chipsproduction was 51.9 and 28.1. These output/input energy ratios showed that the products’ energy contentwas high compared to the direct and indirect fossil energy invested in both production processes. Theglobal to local ratio of abiotic material calculated for timber and wood chips was 3.58 and 2.95, provingthat about 2 times more matter flows were extracted and processed elsewhere than locally to supply theproduction processes. The fraction of renewable emergy calculated for timber and wood chips was 81%and 75% while the Emergy Yield Ratio (EYR) was 4.57 and 3.86, respectively, proving that the forestrysystem is considerably supported by renewable and locally available resources. The release of CO2was855 and 133 t CO2/yr when considering the whole Fiemme and Fassa Valleys. These last figures, comparedto the potential of the two valleys for greenhouse gas mitigation, showed the ability of the investigatedforestry sector to perform within the limits of the local carrying capacity in terms of CO2emissions.Finally, the scenario analysis highlighted the maximum production level compatible with a sustain-able forest exploitation. In conclusion, the development of a multi-method approach to environmentalaccounting allowed a comprehensive assessment of forestry operations, providing a tool useful for localmanagers and policy makers committed to implement an environmentally sound management of forestryactivities.
|Autori:||Buonocore, E.;Häyhä, T.;Paletto, A.;Franzese, P.P.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Titolo:||Assessing environmental costs and impacts of forestry activities: A multi-method approach to environmental accounting|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|