Ecological use of wood resources in Switzerland In this project, researchers develop decision-making aids on environmental policy issues for actors in politics and industry. In so doing, they consider the entire life cycle of wood: from forestry via manufacturing and multiple use of wood products (cascade use) through to its use as a source of energy, or its disposal.

Lay summary

Rising prices of resources and environmental problems call for an efficient use of renewable resources both for material and energetic applications. Thus future generations will not be able to afford to underuse the resource wood, as is still the case today. In order to make better use of wood, models are needed that not only incorporate mass fluxes, but also provide a comprehensive and spatially resolved assessment of the environment.

The aim of the project is to develop strategies that facilitate the sustainable and efficient use of wood resources in Switzerland. For this purpose, the researchers are studying existing and potential future value chains with the help of dynamic and spatially-resolved material flow and life-cycle analyses, improving methods for the assessment of ecological impacts of forestry and wood use as well as evaluating new technologies and giving feedback to their developers within the scope of NRP 66. The insights gained in the project will help the researchers to develop and assess different wood usage scenarios, from which they will derive strategies for decision-makers in politics, industry, forestry and research.

The project will result in a software tool which can be used to test nascent technologies in respect of their ecological consequences. First users of the new tool will be researchers developing new technologies and products in NRP 66 partner projects. Based on the knowledge gained through the research work, political strategies for an ecologically sound management of wood as a resource will be proposed.