Wood is considered a great source for architecture, buildings and can act as material for various items in modern day. Furthermore, it plays an important role in the era of bio-economy where renewable resources are involved. However, everything has its pros and cons, as wood production is considered to be contributing to forest loss, and is blamed for Green House effect at some point.
As a more cost-effective and furthermore, a renewable resource, wood as a material is an ideal choice to reduce carbon footprint as well as environmental impact and at the same time, balancing the cost objective and functionally efficiency. To assess from environmental perspective of a product, Life Cycle Assessment procedure or LCA is usually implemented. Through which, the environmental impact of wood production from the very first state of harvesting to the end of life of the product, can be studied and compared to other materials. Unsurprisingly, the assessment procedures have shown that wood as material contributes less pollution in term of environment compared to concrete or steel. Studies have stated that wood products have less embodied energy and are more environmental friendly as they are involved in less carbon footprint as well as air and water pollution. Furthermore, residues of wood industries are utilized in either by-product manufacture or fuel and clean bio-energy. As forests act as carbon sink and give a hand in preventing climate change and green-house gas, by using wood products that store carbon and having reasonable forest management plans, we can deal with carbon print problem for a long term. (rethinkwood.com.)
Despite being an ideal alternative material because of its more environmental friendly characteristics, wood production is not fully approved by environment groups (Wood I-Joist Manufacturers Association). The disastrous effect caused by wood harvesting and logging, especially unplanned operation, includes loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, desert encroachment and many more problems. Harvesting operation would influence the population and habitat of many species which are residing in the forest. If the removal of trees goes on without management, it can cause extinction to many plant and animal species. On the other hand, taking away from soil the protection of trees cover would lead to soil erosion. (Fuwape 2003.) Furthermore, the effect on land use of forestry operation and the use of bioenergy also require attention since they directly affect the emission of green-house gas. As trees sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, it is released back to the atmosphere when the plants biomass is converted to fuel and used.
Additionally, as land use affects the relationship between GHGs cycle and the environment, there is possibility that it will trigger the emission. (Agricultural Ecosystem Research group.)
According to the Finnish Forest Forestry, Wood production in Finland is growing very rapidly through years. However, at some point, this is considered to be a contributing factor in increasing emission. In fact, Finnish forest resources are still developing and act as essential carbon sink to the environment. To sum up, from Finish perspective, increasing wood use is a chance to enhance sustainable development by reducing emission, increasing renewable wood use, and at the same time, straightening national economy. (Fagerblom 2017.)
Ecological and Environmental Impacts of Bioenergy. Agricultural Ecosystem Research group. Article. Read 19.11.2017. http://www.wgbn.wisc.edu/conservation/ecological-and- environmental-impacts-bioenergy
Effects of Wood Production on the Environment. Wood I-Joist Manufacturers Association. Article. Read 19.11.2017. http://i-joist.org/benefits/effects-of-wood-production-on-the- environment
Fagerblom, A. 2017. Member State Reach Agreement Regarding Forest Carbon Sinks – Finland Need To Continue To Find A Reasonable Solution. Article. Published by: Finnish Forest Forestry. Read 26.11.2017.
Fuwape,J. The Impact Of Forest Industries And Wood Utilization On The Environment. XII World Forestry Congress. 2003. Québec City. Canada.
Reduced Impact. reThink Wood. Article. Read 19.11.2017. https://www.rethinkwood.com/wood-renewable/reduced-impact
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