A generic information framework for decision-making in a forest-based bio-economy

Key message

We present a methodological framework that both scientists and supply chain actors can mobilise to organise information at different scales of observation, and further make informed decisions regarding the supply and extraction of bio-molecules from forest biomass. We demonstrate its usefulness for extracting bio-molecules contained in silver fir growing in France.


Context Numerous bio-active molecules can be extracted from trees at an industrial scale. Supply chain actors play a central role in this emerging bio-economy. However, they do not have enough information and tools to make informed decisions with respect to species, growing locations, or identities of potential suppliers of relevant wood biomass.
Aims We explore and demonstrate an information chain and methodological framework that can help make three critical decisions regarding the selection of (1) the species containing the desired bio-molecules, (2) the locations where the resource is collected, and (3) the supply chain partners and types of industrial wood by-products necessary to obtain sufficient biomass for industrial extraction.
Methods The methodological framework provides detailed guidelines and references to select the right combination of sampling protocol, allometric models, chemical analyses, GIS tools, and forest growth and supply chain models in order to produce information for the three decision steps within various regional contexts.
Results We apply the framework within the context of supply chain actors who are interested in estimating the quantity and diversity of bio-molecules contained in silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) growing in the Grand Est region of France. We show how conflicting environmental, legal and economic constraints can affect the results. We discuss future challenges that need to be tackled to improve the methodological framework.
Conclusion This study represents a highly detailed overview of the potential bio-molecules contained in a tree species, from its natural habitat or plantation to the end of the regional supply chain. It also represents a step towards the development of a generic knowledge infrastructure and methodology that is necessary to solve various decision-making problems regarding the industrial supply and extraction of high-value bio-molecules.

Extractives; Biorefinery; Allometry; GIS; Forest growth model; Supply chain model

Pichancourt, JB., Bauer, R., Billard, A. et al. A generic information framework for decision-making in a forest-based bio-economy. Annals of Forest Science 78, 97 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-021-01110-y

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Data and/or Code availability
Original data and code of models of the current study are available at Data INRAE repository, https://doi.org/10.15454/3KESWN

Handling Editor
Erwin Dreyer

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