Climate-Smart Forestry for a local, low-emissions timber supply chain

The GreenChainSAW4LIFE project aims at supporting the production of low-emissions timber and bioenergy in rural mountain areas, where the principles of Climate-Smart forestry can help retrieving the management of abandoned forest stands

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Photo: [Lucio Vaira].

The liveability of rural and mountain areas is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially due to the expected increased frequency and magnitude of natural hazards as floods, avalanche and gravitative movements. On the other hand, the value of their natural capital, often constituted by non-managed forest stands, can represent a valuable opportunity to adapt to these changes and mitigate their effects.

The GreenChainSAW4LIFE project (Climate Change Mitigation LIFE project 2019-2023), aims at designing an innovative and coordinated timber supply chain for mountain areas to enhance the mitigation potential of their forest stands and produce various wood products to be manufactured and consumed locally.

Particularly, the Pilot area of Po Valley (mountainous area located in Piedmont, North-Western Italy, 6’000 km2 with a 30% forest cover), will experience one of the first practical applications of the Climate-Smart Forestry concept.

This strategy is aimed at retrieving the management over vast abandoned forest areas with a twofold objective: stimulate their growth to improve the carbon sequestration and provide a renewable resource for the needs of the local population. The path of the timber along the supply chain will be monitored via an informatic system composed by the “Forest Buddy” app for data collection by forest managers and a DSS, coupled with a webGIS interface, available for all supply chain actors. The resulting timber will be processed following a cascade approach, in order to produce both local, low-emissions biomaterials and products, and bioenergy for local use.

Particularly, the collaboration with the Ca.S.A. and Co.Bo.Fi. projects (financed by Piedmont Region), will allow to test the use of the local timber for modular housing units and chestnut parquetry. The project will also support the creation of the Monviso energy community, as the resulting wood residues will feed local biomass plants to produce 100% renewable energy.

The sustainability of this cascade approach will be verified by the DSS itself, which contains a specific module of carbon emission accounting. This will certify the benefits obtained by a multifunctional management of mountain forests aimed at supplying multiple ecosystem services for a sustainable development of the local communities.