Footprint Indicators in Sustainability Communication

Biomass is increasingly considered as a key source of energy and raw material in Europe. However comparing with fossil fuels and raw materials, bio-based production is a land use intensive industry. The negative impact of land use change from agriculture, and other natural ecosystems to forestry is also an essential issue relating to sustainable development of forest management. Therefore assessing the land use impact and land use change impact for bioeconomy has raised discussions. In this context, the objective of this doctoral study is to develop a method on how to assess land use impacts on ecosystem services in the framework of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); thus can provide more accurate and operational sets of indicators for interpreting the environmental impacts from the forest industry.

This doctoral study can be divided into two periods. At the first two years, the main task is firstly to gain a solid understanding of the whole value chain of forest industry (forest management) and mechanism of land use impact (land ecology) in life cycle perspective; and then develop specific indicators for assessing the land use impact and land use change impact in forest sector, which has a solid scientific basis and will be clear to understand. The last two year will be spent: one year in comparison between existing forest certification and sustainability reporting system in company; one year in a private sector or company relating forest sector to apply the developed method in real casesl. 

This project will focus on the damages on soil ecosystem services from various forest management regimes, including carbon sequestration, biotic production, erosion resistence and fresh water. The objective is to make the LCIA results more hoslitc and easy to communicate with general public. 

Key words: LCA, forest, land use impacts, ecosysten services, carbon sequestration, production 


For futher information, please don't hesitate to contact:

Qianyu(Amber) Li

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Sustainability Assessment Team