Livestock - Environment interactions: Issues and options


Table of contents


Henning Steinfeld
Cees de Haan
Harvey Blackburn

Report of a Study sponsored by the Commission of the European Communities, the World Bank and the governments of Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States of America.

The Study was coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank.

European Commission Directorate-General for Development

Development Policy Sustainable Development and Natural Resources

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the donors and institutions involved in this study concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The publication of this study was achieved with the financial contribution of the European Union Environment and Development Budget Line (B7-6200). The authors are solely responsible for all opinions expressed in this document, which do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union.

Study Sponsors

Commission of the European Communities Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations World Bank and the governments of:

Denmark: International Development Agency
France: Ministère la Coopération
Germany: BMZ, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development via GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit)
Netherlands: Directorate General of International Cooperation
United Kingdom: Overseas Development Administration
United States: Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for International Development


This study has benefited from a large number of background documents prepared by several scientific institutes and not-affiliated individuals. Contributors to these background reports include Drs. D. Barton, M.A. Conroy, R. Crawshaw, A.I. Frost, M. Gill, C.R.C. Hendy, U. Kleih, C. O'Reilly, M. Phillips, L. Reynolds, D. Thomas, and R.T. Wilson, of the Natural Resources Institute of the UK; Drs. V. Bruzon, M. Carrière, P. D'Aquino, P. Lhoste, A. Le Masson, J.M. Pierre, and B. Toutain of CIRAD-EMVT of France; Drs. J.F.F.P. Bos, P.J. Brandies, J. De Wit, L.W. Hulshoff Pol, J.C.M. Jansen, A.J. Nell, H.G. van der Meer, H. Van Keulen, L.A.H.M. Verheijen, P.T. Westra and D. Wiersema of the International Agricultural Center of the Netherlands; Dr. M. Gibbs of the ICF Incorporated of the United States; Drs. R. Conner, W. Hamilton, D. Sheehy, J. Simpson, and J. Stuth of the Grazingland Management Systems Inc. of the United States; Drs. S. Bauer, J.P. Abresch, A. Schmidt, J. Steinbach, and C. Willeke-Wetstein, of the University of Giessen, Germany; Carlos Sere; and E.P. Cunningham. This report has been prepared by a Coordinating Group of the Steering Committee for this Study composed of Cees de Haan (Chair of the Steering Committee, World Bank), Henning Steinfeld (Implementing Agency for the Study, FAO) and Harvey Blackburn (USAID).

Background material was prepared by Clare Narrod (World Bank) and Takuo Sukigara (FAO) and editorial work was undertaken by Christine Ellefson-Tavella (FAO).

Detailed reviews were carried out by a specialized peer review group with Mike Young (CSIRO), C. Ford Runge (University of Minnesota) and Peter Oram (IFPRI, Washington D.C), in a workshop held as an associated event of the 4th Annual World Bank Conference on Environmentally Sustainable Development in Washington D.C. on September 27 and 28, 1956. The Study was guided by the Steering Committee composed of the representatives of the sponsoring agencies, which, in addition to the Coordinating Group, included Flemming Winther Olsen (Denmark), Michael Dale and Amos Tincani (EU), Christophe Crépin and Laurent Bonneau (France), Hermann Grell and Annette von Lossau (GTZ, Germany), Henri Jorritsma (Netherlands), Guy Freeland (ODA, United Kingdom) Joyce Turk (USAID, USA), Mark Orlic (USEPA, USA) and Ahmed Sidahmed (IFAD).

However, the analysis and conclusions are those of the main authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the reviewers, the donors and the collaborating institutes.

Cover photograph by J. Van Acker, WFP from an Egyptian tomb painting.

All pictures supplied by FAO with the exception of the photographs which appear on pages 9, 41 and 49 which were taken by Michael Pickstock/WRENmedia.

Designed and produced by WRENmedia, Fressingfield, Eye, Suffolk, IP21 5SA, United Kingdom.



Chapter 1: Livestock, environment and human needs

Livestock in a changing world
The environmental challenges

Chapter 2: Where and how it happens

Hot spots of livestock - Environment interactions
Global overlays
Underlying causes

Chapter 3: What can be done?

Principles and objectives
Policy design
Strategies for livestock production systems

Chapter 4: Looking ahead: Elements of future strategies

The need for informed decision-making
The need for consistent policies
The need for institutional development
The need to get prices right
The need for technological change
The need to selectively develop infrastructure
The need to change perspective