A model for estimating carbon accumulation in cork products

Ana C. Dias, Luís Arroja


Aim of study: This study aims to develop a calculation model for estimating carbon accumulation in cork products, both whilst in use and when in landfills, and to apply the model to Portugal as an example.

Area of study: The model is applicable worldwide and the case-study is Portugal.

Material and methods: The model adopts a flux-data method based on a lifetime analysis and quantifies carbon accumulation in cork products according to three approaches that differ on how carbon stocks (or emissions) are allocated to cork product consuming and producing countries. These approaches are: stock-change, production and atmospheric-flow. The effect on carbon balance of methane emissions from the decay of cork products in landfills is also evaluated.

Main results: The model was applied to Portugal and the results show that carbon accumulation in cork products in the period between 1990 and 2010 varied between 24 and 92 Gg C year-1. The atmospheric-flow approach provided the highest carbon accumulation over the whole period due to the net export of carbon in cork products. The production approach ranked second because exported cork products were mainly manufactured from domestically produced cork. The net carbon balance in cork products was also a net carbon accumulation with all the approaches, ranging from 5 to 81 Gg C eq year-1.

Research highlights: The developed model can be applied to other countries and may be a step forward to consider carbon accumulation in cork products in national greenhouse gas inventories, as well as in future climate agreements.

Keywords: Atmospheric-flow approach; Greenhouse gas balance; Modelling; Production approach; Stock-change approach.

Full Text:



AFN, 2010. 5º Inventário florestal nacional. Autoridade Florestal Nacional, Lisboa, Portugal.

APCOR, 2011. Cork yearbook 2011. Portuguese Cork Association, Santa Maria de Lamas.

APCOR, 2013. Cork 2013. Portuguese Cork Association, Santa Maria de Lamas.

Brown S, Lim B, Schlamadinger B, 1999. Evaluating approaches for estimating net emissions of carbon dioxide from forest harvesting and wood products. Meeting report, Dakar, 5-7 May 1998. IPCC/OECD/IEA Programme on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Paris, France.

Bugalho MN, Caldeira MC, Pereira JS, Aronson J, Pausas JG, 2011. Mediterranean cork oak savannas require human use to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services. Front Ecol Environ 9, 278-286. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/100084

De la Cruz FB, Jeffrey PC, Barlaz MA, 2013. Measurement of carbon storage in landfills from the biogenic carbon content of excavated waste samples. Waste Manage 33, 2001-2005. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2012.12.012

DGF, 1991. Perfil florestal. Direcção-Geral das Florestas, Lisbon, Portugal.

Dias AC, Arroja L, Capela I, 2012. Carbon storage in harvested wood products: implications of different methodological procedures and input data - a case-study for Portugal. Eur J Forest Res 131, 109-117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10342-011-0515-3

Dias AC, Louro M, Arroja L, Capela I, 2007. Carbon estimation in harvested wood products using a country-specific method: Portugal as a case-study. Environ Sci Policy 10, 250-259. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2007.01.002

Dias AC, Louro M, Arroja L, Capela I, 2009. Comparison of methods for estimating carbon in harvested wood products. Biomass Bioenerg 33, 213-222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2008.07.004

Donlan J, Skog K, Byrne KA, 2012. Carbon storage in harvested wood products for Ireland 1961-2009. Biomass Bioenerg 46, 731-738. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2012.06.018

EC, 2014a. Eurostat's metadata - classifications. [online]. Available in http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/ramon/nomenclatures. [08.01.2014].

EC, 2014b. Eurostat's easy comext. [online]. Available in http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/newxtweb. [08.01.2014].

FAO, 2014. FAOSTAT – forestry database. [online]. Available in http://faostat3.fao.org [08.01.2014].

Flugsrud K, Hoem B, Kvingedal E, Rypdal K, 2001. Estimating the net emission of CO2 from harvested wood products - a comparison between different approaches. Report 1831/2001. Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, Oslo, Norway.

Gil L, 2011. Environmental, sustainability and ecological aspects of cork products for building. Ciencia Tecnol Materiais 23, 87-90.

Gil L, Marreiros N, Silva P, 2011. Insulation corkboard carbon content and CO2 equivalent. Ciencia Tecnol Materiais 23, 42-43.

Gil L, Maurício N, Cáceres G, 2000. Study of formaldehyde determination in cork products. Holz Roh Werkst 58, 47-51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s001070050385

Gil L, Pereira C, 2007. A fórmula da cortiça. Tecnologia e Vida, November.

Hashimoto S, 2008. Different accounting approaches to harvested wood products in national greenhouse gas inventories: their incentives to achievement of major policy goals. Environ Sci Policy 11, 756-771. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2008.08.002

Hashimoto S, Moriguchi Y, 2004. Data book: material and carbon flow of harvested wood in Japan. CGER-D034-2004. Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba.

INE, 1944-2012a. Estatísticas do comércio externo. Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Lisbon, Portugal.

INE, 1944-2012b. Estatísticas industriais. Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Lisbon, Portugal.

IPCC, 2003. Good practice guidance for land use, land-use change and forestry. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Hayama, Japan.

IPCC, 2006. 2006 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Hayama, Japan.

IPCC, 2007. IPCC fourth assessment report: climate change 2007 - the physical sience basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.

Maciel H, Pereira TC, Seabra T, Torres P, Canaveira P, Mourão I, 2012. Portuguese national inventory report on greenhouse gases, 1990-2010, submitted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, Amadora.

Mendes AMSC, 2002. A economia do sector da cortiça em Portugal. Evolução das actividades de produção e de transformação ao longo dos séculos XIX e XX. Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal.

Nabuurs GJ, Sikkema R, 2001. International trade in wood products: its role in the land use change and forestry carbon cycle. Climatic Change 49, 377-395. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1010732726540

Pereira H, 2007. Cork biology, production and uses. Elsevier, Amsterdam and Oxford.

Pereira JS, Mateus JA, Aires LM, Pita G, Pio C, David JS, Andrade A, Banza J, David TS, Paço TA, Rodrigues A, 2007. Net ecosystem carbon exchange in three contrasting Mediterranean ecosystems – the effect of drought. Biogeosciences 4, 791-802. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-4-791-2007

Pestana M, Tinoco I, 2009. A indústria e o comércio da cortiça em Portugal durante o século XX. Silva Lusitana 17, 1-26.

Pingoud K, Perälä A-L, Soimakallio S, Pussinen A, 2003. Greenhouse gas impacts of harvested wood products. Evaluation and development of methods. VTT Research Notes 2189. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo.

Pintor MAP, Ferreira CIA, Pereira JC, Correia P, Silva SP, Vilar VJP et al, 2012. Use of cork powder and granules for the adsorption of pollutants: a review. Water Res 46, 3152-3166. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2012.03.048

Rives J, 2011. Environmental evaluation of the cork sector in Southern Europe (Catalonia). Doctoral thesis. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.

Rives J, Fernández-Rodríguez I, Rieradevall J, Gabarrell X, 2012. Environmental analysis of the production of champagne cork stoppers. J Clean Prod 25, 1-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.12.001

Rosa ME, Fortes MA, 1989. Effects of water vapour heating on structure and properties of cork. Wood Sci Technol 23, 27-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00350604

Sampaio JS, 1986. Balanço do ano. Boletim do Instituto dos Produtos Florestais - Cortiça 571, 144-148.

Six T, Feigenbaum A, 2003. Mechanism of migration from agglomerated cork stoppers. Part 2: safety assessment criteria of agglomerated cork stoppers for champagne wine cork producers, for users and for control laboratories. Food Addit Contam 20, 960–971. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02652030310001597583

Skog KE, Pingoud K, Smith JE, 2004. A method countries can use to estimate changes in carbon stored in harvested wood products and the uncertainty of such estimates. Environ Manage 33, supplement 1, S65-S73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-003-9118-1

UN, 2014. UN comtrade database. [online]. Available in http://comtrade.un.org [08.01.2014].

UNFCCC, 2003. Estimation, reporting and accounting of harvested wood products. Technical paper FCCC/TP/2003/7. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Winjum JK, Brown S, Schlamadinger B, 1998. Forest harvests and wood products: sources and sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide. For Sci 44, 272-284.

Ximenes FA, Gardner WD, Cowie AL, 2008. The decomposition of wood products in landfills in Sydney, Australia. Waste Manage 28, 2344-2354. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2007.11.006

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2014232-04100

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems