Skip to main content

Critical evaluation of the effect of biogenic carbon in wood products on climate change using dynamic models.

The overall objective of TimberBioC is the development and coupling of dynamic models on forest and product level as a robust basis for the description and quantification of temporary CO2 storage in long-lived wood construction products. By simultaneously taking into account the potential closed-loop recycling (reuse and recycling) of these products, a holistic sustainability assessment will be made possible.

ResearchCircular economy


In the course of its growth, wood absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the environment and stores it in the form of carbon. This leads to a reduction of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and thus makes an important contribution to mitigating the climate crisis, especially if the CO2 remains bound in the wood for a very long time. Long-lasting wood products (mostly used in primary construction) in the building sector in particular fulfill this function. Even though this process is a temporary CO2 storage, it still avoids immediate emissions and thus supports the achievement of medium- to long-term CO2 reduction targets. However, this positive effect cannot be mapped with the current static method of life cycle assessment of building products (EN 15804+A2 and EN 16485). Here, the CO2 storage in the wood can be accounted for at the input to the system, but must be derecognized as soon as the wood leaves the system, regardless of whether it is subsequently reused, recycled or incinerated. In addition, the life of the product and the actual timing of emissions are not considered. Temporary storage is thus de facto not taken into account over the product or building life cycle.


The primary objective of TimberBioC is therefore the development of a comprehensive system for mapping the temporary CO2 storage of long-lived wood products. The parameters essential for the quantification of the effect include the decomposition rate of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as well as the net carbon uptake in the forest during the lifetime of the construction product, depending on the rotation periods of the relevant tree species and their predicted fluctuations due to climate change. These parameters will be determined by means of a dynamic forest model and will subsequently serve as input parameters for a dynamic wood product model developed in the project to assess the contribution to the greenhouse effect (including consideration of CO2 storage). The adequate consideration of the cycle management (reuse and recycling) of long-lived wood products and their effects on carbon storage, which have not been considered in LCA models so far, will also be included in the product model as additional input parameters. This combination of parameters has not yet been carried out for building products in this form, although individual parameters are used in models, e.g. for bio-based fuels, and can therefore serve as a starting point.


The expected result is a holistic quantification of the CO2 sink of structural timber considering all relevant and over time variable input parameters in different scenarios. The knowledge gained from the coupled models will subsequently be incorporated into a simplified model for sustainability assessments that addresses new regulatory, economic and societal challenges. In this context, the robust and well-founded methods developed in the project to determine avoided emissions and their actual impact on the climate crisis will play an important role.

Project team


Fachhochschule Technikum Wien

Universität für Bodenkultur, Department für Wald- und Bodenwissenschaften, Institut für Waldbau

Research period

September 2022 – February 2024

Funding Institutions

This project is funded by the Forest Fund, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management and is carried out as part of the Think.Wood program of the Austrian Wood Initiative.

© Enzberg