New global maps of livestock distribution

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Photo: (Stevie Mann / ILRI)

Led by Marius Gilbert – Interfaculty School of Bioengineering , Université libre de Bruxelles – and Tim Robinson (ILRI, Kenya), an international researcher team established new global maps of livestock distribution. This study should help to measure the socio-economic, public health and environmental impacts of livestock and poultry, worldwide .

These data should help quantifying different types of impact of the livestock sector and contribute to the development of policies to promote a safe, sustainable and equitable sector development in the coming decades .

At the global scale, the growth in demand for livestock products has never been greater than today.

The growing livestock sector places ever greater pressure on natural resources and the environment. It contributes significantly to global environmental change with a recently estimated 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the sector, as well as through environmental problems associated with manure management and disruption of the nitrogen cycle in the soil, water and air.

Also of concern are the public health implications of livestock intensification. The widespread use of antibiotics in livestock contributes to the increasing prevalence of resistant strains of bacteria to antibiotics. Close proximity to the habitat of wildlife increases the chances of emergence and spread of zoonotic infectious agents originating in wild animals. Finally, it is estimated today that one in three human in the world - 1.46 bn. - is obese or overweight, a problem to which of over-consumption of processed products of animal origin contributes significantly .

But livestock are also a source of livelihoods and food security for almost a bn. people.

Moreover , livestock grazing systems are also used to produce meat and milk in areas unsuitable for crop production. Today, nearly 800 mill. people are affected by food insecurity. There has never been a greater need to ensure equitable, efficient and sustainable food production; the livestock sector plays an essential role in achieving this objective .

This study is the result of a partnership between the Laboratory of Biological Control and Spatial Ecology (ULB , LUBIES ) , the International Livestock Research Institute ( ILRI , Nairobi , Kenya) , the Food and Agricultural Organization of the united Nations (FAO , Rome, Italy ) and the University of Oxford (United Kingdom). The platform release has been established by collaborators at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) .
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