The demand for livestock products both within the region of Latin America and beyond has been a major driver for the livestock-induced environmental problems that the region faces today.
Demand for livestock products has led to increased pressure on the natural resource base. Some of the major environmental problems experienced in the region include: Soil degradation problems caused by overgrazing, deforestation as a result of pasture expansion and conversion of forests into cropland for feed production, as well as pollution related- problems associated with involution of mixed farming systems.
The LEAD Initiative in the region addressed many of these issues through implementation of pilot projects and studies.
To complement its activities in the region, LEAD in collaboration with the regional Centre for Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education (CATIE) also facilitated the establishment of a regional Spanish platform
The objectives of the Latin American platform were to:
Provide communities and authorities with alternative technologies and policy requirements on Livestock and Environment in Latin America.
Provide policy-makers with the knowledge they need to promulgate policies that encourage the development and use of sustainable livestock systems.
Assist in capacity building, disseminate results and provide baseline information.
Facilitate pilot development programmes among research and development institutions and individuals, and be involved in providing support to them.
The Spanish-speaking “platform” focused on the following thematic areas:
Livestock-induced deforestation in tropical areas
Livestock-associated erosion problems in the hillsides
Animal waste problems in areas of high animal concentrations
Improved pastures and silvopastoral systems
Policy issues related to livestock
The Spanish speaking platform was particularly dynamic and developed a number of activities to support decision makers, researchers and extensions of the Latin American region.
Support has been through dissemination of information (e-conferences, e-newsletters, workshops, and seminars), results, and tools related to livestock-environment interactions.
Over the past years the platform was also instrumental in developing linkages with key institutions in Central and South America working in the area of livestock and the environment.