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Revista de Ciencias Ambientales

On-line version ISSN 2215-3896Print version ISSN 1409-2158


SOLANO SALMERON, John; FONSECA GONZALEZ, William; UGALDE ALFARO, Sebastián  and  GUIER, Federico Alice. Climate change impact of the life cycle of wooden pallets made in the Northern Huetar region in Costa Rica. Ciencias Ambientales [online]. 2021, vol.55, n.1, pp.32-48. ISSN 2215-3896.


Life Cycle Analysis is a powerful and well-recognized methodology to determine a product’s environmental impact


The aim of this research was to evaluate the impact of wooden pallets on climate change.


The scope of the system ranges from land preparation to establish the plantations to the arrival gate at the fruit packing house. Two functional units were assessed: a) a pallet with commercial dimensions for handling of agricultural products and b) a cubic meter of wood to produce pallets. The study included data from the 2014-2017 period, and life cycle results included a whole rotation equivalent to 12 years for the gmelina (Gmelina arborea Roxb) plantations. Two product systems were evaluated: using biomass in the heat treatment and using LP gas.


The former presented a slightly smaller potential impact. In both cases, the diesel combustion associated with roundwood transport was the most emissions intense stage, releasing approximately 1.61 kg CO2-eq pallet-1 and 43.22 kg CO2-eq m-3. Diesel is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in all life cycle stages, releasing 2.31 kg CO2-eq pallet-1 and 86.57 kg CO2-eq m-3.


Opportunities to improve the product’s environmental performance include using more efficient loading vehicles and reducing the distance between forest plantations and the sawmill.

Keywords : Biogenic products; climate change; forest products; Harvested Wood Products (HWP); Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA); Life Cycle Inventory (LCI); Product Carbon Footprint (PCF).

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