Presenting insights on wood use for a strengthened contribution to climate change mitigation in the EU at Karelia Symposium

8 May 2024

ForestPaths partner Cleo Orfanidou (European Forest Institute (EFI)), recently showcased EFI and VITO’s research at the 9th Karelia Symposium in April 2024 in Finland. Organised by the University of Eastern Finland and Teollisuusneuvos Heikki Väänänen’s Fund, the symposium provided a platform for experts to discuss pivotal issues in use of wood in Finland, EU, and the USA.

Orfanidou's presentation delved into the topic of "Wood flows in the EU: towards a strengthened contribution of wood use to climate change mitigation." She outlined forest-based mitigation activities, as well as actions aimed at improving wood use including shifting towards longer-lived products, material substitution, cascading and others (Verkerk et al, 2022). These activities play a vital role in sequestering carbon, retaining carbon in wood products, and reducing emissions through substitution.

Drawing from recent EFI and VITO research, Orfanidou highlighted the importance of increasing resolution of the wood sector to include added-value wood product markets and post-consumer wood in the equation for accurately estimating the mitigation potential of the European forest-based bioeconomy. This research contributes to improving temporal accounting while improving resolution of the wood sector (i.e. when, how and for how long wood is used and its post-use wood treatment practices) and feeds into the development of more refined substitution factors for forest products, which describe the potential avoided emissions of using wood-based instead of fossil-based products.

These more refined substitution factors in ForestPaths are calculated using a novel Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology that combines dynamic, and prospective elements, developed by Amelie Müller from VITO/CML and colleagues. This novel method of time-explicit LCA is developed in a python package called bw_timex. Orfanidou outlined the tools and methodologies, such as aiphoria and bw_timex, being employed to achieve these objectives within the ForestPaths project.

Looking ahead, the python package for assessing and visualising dynamic wood material flows, aiphoria, and bw_timex, the python package for time-explicit LCA will be available in August 2024 through the project website


Verkerk, P.J., Delacote, P., Hurmekoski, E., Kunttu, J., Matthews, R., Mäkipää, R., Mosley, F., Perugini, L., Reyer, C. P. O., Roe, S., Trømborg, E. 2022. Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe. From Science to Policy 14. European Forest Institute.