Browsing by Subject "LIVESTOCK"

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  • Bump, Joseph K.; Murawski, Chelsea M.; Kartano, Linda M.; Beyer, Dean E.; Roell, Brian J. (2013)
  • Manzano, Pablo; White, Shannon R. (2019)
    The general public is increasingly critical of extensive, ruminant-dominated systems for their attributed high greenhouse gas emissions. However, advocates of low input, grass-fed systems present them as paradigmatic sustainable production systems because of their biodiversity, land use, rural development and animal welfare benefits. We reconcile both analyses by proposing to assess baseline emissions in grazed ecosystems. We show that policies aiming at transitioning grass-fed systems towards fodder-based (concentrate- or grain-based) systems can be ineffective at reducing emissions because wild ruminants or termites fill livestock's ecological niche. Climate change policies targeting livestock should carefully evaluate derived emissions scenarios.
  • Koppelmäki, Kari; Helenius, Juha; Schulte, Rogier (2021)
    Although a circular economy promotes economic and environmental benefits, knowledge gaps remain surrounding the application of these concepts to food systems. A better understanding of the connection between different flows of biomass and energy at different spatial scales is needed to facilitate effective transitions towards circular bioeconomies. This study provides a framework for assessing the circularity of food systems, which we exemplify by identifying key steps towards circularity for three contrasting farming regions in Finland. For each of the regions, we quantified the flows of biomass, nutrients and energy. We found large differences in circularity, depending on the chosen indicator. Most biomass and nutrient flows were related to livestock production, which implies that it plays a key role in circular food systems. Current livestock production was found to be connected to national and global food systems through the international feed trade. This trade generates imbalanced nutrient flows between regions and countries, resulting in excess accumulations of nutrients in regions with net imports. In terms of circularity in energy systems, we found that substantial amounts of energy could be produced from manure and plant-based biomasses without causing food-fuel competition in land use. We also observed that, the inclusion of human excreta would further improve recycling but this was significant only in the region with a high population density. Thus, in this study, we propose a concept of nested circularity in which nutrient, biomass and energy cycles are connected and closed across multiple spatial scales.
  • Marshall, Karen; Salmon, G.R.; Tebug, Stanly; Juga, Jarmo; MacLeod, M.; Poole, Elizabeth Jane; Baltenweck, I.; Missohou, Ayao (2020)
    Senegal, located in West Africa, is an example of a low-to middle-income country where the govern-ment has prioritized improving livestock production self-sufficiency, with a strong focus on dairy. Among other initiatives, the use of exotic dairy cattle has been promoted, despite no evidence for the potential liveli-hood benefits (or otherwise) to smallholder farmers on adopting the new genetics. The current work fills this evidence gap by performing a farm-level economic study comparing the keeping of different breed and cross-breed types of dairy cattle under different management levels. Data for the study were obtained by monitoring 220 smallholder dairy cattle farms, with a combined cattle population of about 3,000 animals, over an almost 2-yr period. Findings of the study suggest that the most net-beneficial and cost-beneficial dairy cattle enterprise that could be used by the smallholder farmers was to keep crossbred indigenous zebu by exotic Bos taurus animals under management standards that are consid-ered good compared with local standards. This dairy enterprise type was 7.4-fold more net beneficial and had a 1.4-fold more favorable cost-benefit ratio than the traditional system of keeping indigenous zebu animals under poor (low-input) management. Interestingly, the keeping of (near) pure B. taurus dairy cattle resulted in the highest milk yields and thus benefit from milk, but was not the most net beneficial due to the high costs of keeping these animals, particularly in terms of feed. We also found that increasing the managementlevel of any of the breed or cross-breed types under consideration, including the indigenous zebu animals, resulted in an increased net benefit of 2.2-to 2.9-fold. Results of this economic analysis are discussed as part of a broader trade-off analysis, resulting in recommendations to strengthen the Senegal dairy sector. The combined intervention of improved dairy cattle genetics and management is considered a promising intervention to improve livelihoods of the rural poor as well as livestock production self-sufficiency for Senegal; some other system constraints are addressed.
  • Lambertucci, Sergio A.; Margalida, Antoni; Speziale, Karina L.; Amar, Arjun; Ballejo, Fernando; Bildstein, Keith L.; Blanco, Guillermo; Botha, Andre J.; Bowden, Christopher G. R.; Cortes-Avizanda, Ainara; Duriez, Olivier; Green, Rhys E.; Hiraldo, Fernando; Ogada, Darcy; Plaza, Pablo; Sanchez-Zapata, Jose A.; Santangeli, Andrea; Selva, Nuria; Spiegel, Orr; Donazar, Jose A. (2021)
    Vultures and condors are among the most threatened avian species in the world due to the impacts of human activities. Negative perceptions can contribute to these threats as some vulture species have been historically blamed for killing livestock. This perception of conflict has increased in recent years, associated with a viral spread of partial and biased information through social media and despite limited empirical support for these assertions. Here, we highlight that magnifying infrequent events of livestock being injured by vultures through publically shared videos or biased news items negatively impact efforts to conserve threatened populations of avian scavengers. We encourage environmental agencies, researchers, and practitioners to evaluate the reliability, frequency, and context of reports of vulture predation, weighing those results against the diverse and valuable contributions of vultures to environmental health and human well-being. We also encourage the development of awareness campaigns and improved livestock management practices, including commonly available nonlethal deterrence strategies, if needed. These actions are urgently required to allow the development of a more effective conservation strategy for vultures worldwide.
  • Slade, Eleanor M.; Riutta, Terhi; Roslin, Tomas; Tuomisto, Hanna L. (2016)
    Agriculture is one of the largest anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs), with dairy and beef production accounting for nearly two-thirds of emissions. Several recent papers suggest that dung beetles may affect fluxes of GHGs from cattle farming. Here, we put these previous findings into context. Using Finland as an example, we assessed GHG emissions at three scales: the dung pat, pasture ecosystem, and whole lifecycle of milk or beef production. At the first two levels, dung beetles reduced GHG emissions by up to 7% and 12% respectively, mainly through large reductions in methane (CH4) emissions. However, at the lifecycle level, dung beetles accounted for only a 0.05-0.13% reduction of overall GHG emissions. This mismatch derives from the fact that in intensive production systems, only a limited fraction of all cow pats end up on pastures, offering limited scope for dung beetle mitigation of GHG fluxes. In contrast, we suggest that the effects of dung beetles may be accentuated in tropical countries, where more manure is left on pastures, and dung beetles remove and aerate dung faster, and that this is thus a key area for future research. These considerations give a new perspective on previous results perspective, and suggest that studies of biotic effects on GHG emissions from dung pats on a global scale are a priority for current research.
  • Sandström, Vilma; Valin, Hugo; Krisztin, Tamás; Havlík, Petr; Herrero, Mario; Kastner, Thomas (2018)
    International trade presents a challenge for measuring the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission footprint of human diets, because imported food is produced with different production efficiencies and sourcing regions differ in land use histories. We analyze how trade and countries of origin impact GHG footprint calculation for EU food consumption. We find that food consumption footprints can differ considerably between the EU countries with estimates varying from 610 to 1460 CO2-eq. cap−1 yr−1. These estimates include the GHG emissions from primary production, international trade and land use change. The share of animal products in the diet is the most important factor determining the footprint of food consumption. Embedded land use change in imports also plays a major role. Transition towards more plant-based diets has a great potential for climate change mitigation.