Material Flow Analysis of Wood in a Self-Sufficient Community
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Wood is an essential natural resource that can be utilized in various ways, such as for construction, bioenergy, and paper production. The flow of wood from harvest to use has the potential to be optimized to achieve circularity and enhance sustainability through proper management and increased recycling rates. This objective is particularly interesting to “Orchid City,” a concept for a future-proof, self-sufficient community of up to 50,000 inhabitants. A material flow analysis was therefore conducted for Orchid City to determine whether the community could self-sustain its wood consumption based on own wood production. The recycling rates of the wood flow were evaluated to determine if efficiencies in the system could be increased to enhance the circularity of the wood. Next, recommendations were made for which tree species to grow and where the wood should be produced. The cascade-use principle of wood was evaluated to determine which order of uses is most efficient. Finally, the feasibility of an Orchid City in the Netherlands was evaluated in terms of geographical location and spatial requirements. This report concludes that an Orchid City of 50,000 inhabitants (occupying 19,700 ha in total) can be self-sufficient in terms of wood, given increases in efficiencies within the recycling system. The total amount of wood that needs to be produced is 24,275 tonnes per year and Orchid city exceeds this amount by 4,686 tonnes. The corresponding land claim, needed to fulfill these growth requirements is 2,410 ha for natural forest, 2,994 ha for agroforestry, and 9,039 ha for silvopasture. From a wood flow perspective, it is feasible that such a community could be placed in certain areas of the Netherlands with similar land use regimes and low population densities. However, further research is needed to consider more complex issues and potential constraints to implementation, such as land tenure and regulation, and current high land prices.