Physical Impacts of Land Use in Product Life Cycle Assessment

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Introduction

This is the final report from the sub-project “Quantitative environmental assessment of land use in relation to the product life cycle” of the EUREKA project EU-1296 entitled “Development and application of major missing elements in the existing detailed Life Cycle Assessment methodology (LCAGAPS),” which was funded by the Danish EUREKAsecretariat at the Danish Agency for Industry and Trade. Through the Danish funding it was possible to involve a Dutch expert in the field, Erwin Lindeijer, to participate in the work.

The original concepts upon which this report is based were presented to the international scientific community in 1996 (Weidema & Mortensen 1996, Blonk et al. 1996), and within the field of biodiversity assessment some key ideas were developed in the report by Schmidt (1997). Several of the scientific topics related to environmental assessment of land use have been in rapid development during the scheduled period of the LCAGAPS project, especially in the fields of assessment of biodiversity and biogeochemical substance cycles. The finalisation of the project was postponed to take advantage of this concurrent and still ongoing development, and in the following years we focused on contributing to the conceptual development, especially in the SETAC working group on impact assessment (as documented e.g. in Lindeijer et al. 1998). In view of the rapid advancement in modelling and data availability, we have placed emphasis on assessment indicators that can function at the current level of available information, while being amenable for refinement as more data become available. For the same reason, not all aspects of the topic have been treated in equal detail. The final results of the project are presented with the present report.

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