The Value of the Forest and Forest Products

Transparent methods, and data that sheds light on the entire value chain from plant to product, are necessary when communicating the sustainability of forest products. This work package develops digital tools that visualise every part of the chain from a sustainability perspective. The potential of the industry is also explored since, by using digital tools, we can analyse the various sustainability consequences of the raw materials used to manufacture both traditional, and innovative, products. Together, this all contributes to the formation of a supportive, fact-based foundation, for the transition to a bioeconomy.

The work package The Value of the Forest and Forest Products, focuses on three divisions:

Circularity and sustainability

In this project, the researchers further develop existing methods and tools for sustainability assessment. For example, they do this by adding a circular perspective in the assessment of product sustainability, or by seeing how biological diversity can be included in the assessment criteria. Amongst other things, this means better application of LCA (life cycle assessment) and environmental product declarations (EPD) based on LCA results on forest products.

Optimise the supply of raw materials based on tree species and timber properties

What sort of bio-based products and materials do we need in the future? Can we optimise the industry’s access to raw materials with the help of high-resolution data on tree species and timber properties? These are some of the issues explored in this project where the researchers present a number of possible scenarios, based on their analysis. The project shows how forestry, and the decisions that are made there, becomes part of the industrial process through digitalisation.

Visualisation for a deeper understanding of forestry

To fully understand sustainability linked to forestry and forestry products, we need to visualise how the forest value chain is linked together. We need to see the climate benefits that these products give rise to, as well as the consquences for other environmental aspects or sustainability indicators. To this end, the research in this project is developing a visualisation tool called BioMapp based on scenarios from Heureka, which is a model for forest planning.

Besides the forestry operations, BioMapp includes the downstream forestry-based manufacturing industry and its products making it possible to illustrate the sectors’ total impact and its contribution to bioeconomy. For instance, together Heureka and BioMapp can show the amount of unused residual products in the forest (such as branches and crowns) and calculate the benefit of refining them at a biorefinery as compared to other alternatives, and evaluate their substitution effects.