Comparing the biodiversity impacts of timber and other building materials

Building codes in Australia and other countries are increasing their environmental sustainability requirements; life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies will play a prominent role in shaping regulation.

This report explores how the biodiversity impact of land use (such as forestry, agriculture, mining, and industrial and urban development) can be included in LCAs of buildings, building materials and other products. It examines key concepts and terms; Life Cycle Assessment processes; and issues in incorporating land use impacts on biodiversity into LCA, as well as providing a framework for dialogue between ecologists, LCA practitioners, design professionals, government and industry.

Incorporating land use impacts on biodiversity into LCA should account for both the reversibility of impacts and the conservation status or irreplaceability of the biodiversity affected. Both occupation and transformation land use impacts should be examined as they each represent important impacts on biodiversity.

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