Technological watch

Potentials for wood cascading: A model for the prediction of the recovery of timber in Germany

The transition of our economy towards a bioeconomy is likely to increase the demand for wood in the future. Because the roundwood supply is limited, wood cascading is a promising concept for meeting the growing demand. In this context, it is necessary to map the current timber market for analyzing potential options for the cascading of recovered timber, and for quantifying future amounts of recovered timber, differentiated by the type of semi-finished wood product and sectoral origin. Therefore, a material flow analysis (MFA) for Germany during 2019 is performed and a model for the prediction of the recovery of timber volumes (PRecTimber) is developed. This model is based on a distributed decay approach which considers sectoral lifetimes. Historical data for the domestic consumption of timber products are used to calculate the annual decay of various timber products entering consumption. The MFA results in about 62 Mm3 solid wood equivalents (SWE) of various wood raw material assortments being required in the domestic production of wood products. An increasing amount of recovered timber with a minimum of 26.6 Mm3 (13.1 Mt) for 2019 to 29.5 Mm3 (14.2 Mt) in 2050 can be expected. In 2050, the recovered timber is derived from the sectors construction with 52%, furniture with 30%, packaging with 15%, and others with 2% (mainly consisting of sawn wood and particleboard products). The results of the model can be used, to derive estimates of the dimension and quality of the future recovered timber accompanying the potentials for cascading.

Publication date: 01/03/2022

Author: Pia Szichta, Michael Risse, Gabriele Weber-Blaschke, Klaus Richter

Resources, Conservation and Recycling


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.