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Introduction to the study livestock-environment interactions



Senior Officer (Livestock Development Planning), Animal Production and Health Division, FAO, Rome, Italy


There are massive pressures on animal production to satisfy the deeply rooted demand for high value animal protein. These pressures are resulting in a major transformation of the livestock sector, from one which is resource-driven (based on available waste and surplus products) to one that looks aggressively for new resources. Surging demand for animal products, a liberalized trade environment, changes in national policies and rapid developments in the area of technology and information bring about a whole series of opportunities and risks. These are compounded by shifts in the level of decision-making, away from the centralized nation-state towards both the lower (community) and higher (international) level. The dynamics surrounding the livestock sector call for novel approaches for safeguarding international public goods, now and in future.

Livestock in a changing world

The domestication of animals and their integration with crop agriculture have provided the main avenue for agricultural intensification and this, in turn, has allowed for unprecedented economic and human population growth. Livestock production, mainly as a result of pressures in this process, has become an important factor in environmental degradation. All these pressures on the environment are the result of a process of change in which the rising demand for livestock commodities is creating a new role not only for livestock but also for the environment. In essence, the conflict between livestock and the environment is a conflict between different human needs and expectations.

Animal Production growth rates in percent for major livestock products from 1990 to 1995
CommodityDeveloping countriesDeveloped countries
Ruminant meat4.3-2.0
Source: Waicent (1996)

The world's livestock sector is growing at an unprecedented rate. Livestock are not only important as producers of meat, milk and eggs, which are part of the modern food chain and provide high value protein food, but other non-food functions; although of declining importance, still provide the rationale for keeping the majority of the world's livestock. For millions of smallholder farmers, animal draught power and nutrient recycling through manure compensate for lack of access to modern inputs such as tractors and fertilizer, and help to maintain the viability and environmental sustainability of production. Often, livestock constitute the main, if not the only, capital reserve of farming households, serving as a strategic reserve that reduces risk and adds stability to the overall farming system. As such, livestock can satisfy a large variety of human needs. Yet, in many places, livestock production is growing out of balance with the environment or is denied access to traditional key resources, and degradation is the result. The driving force behind the surge in demand for livestock products is a combination of population growth, rising incomes and urbanization. The world's population is currently growing at 1. 5 percent; the growth rate is 1.8 percent in the developing countries and stagnating at less than 0.1 growth in the developed countries. The real incomes of consumers in the developing countries have doubled since the early 1960s. With the exception of the 1980s, per capita GDP has grown annually by over 3 percent per year. There is a strong positive relationship between level of income and consumption of animal protein. As people become more affluent, consumption of meat, milk and eggs relatively increases compared to the consumption of staple food. Diets become richer and more diverse, and the high-value protein that livestock products offer improves the nutrition for the vast majority of people in the world. Incomes have increased in most countries over the past five years, particularly in Asian countries. In the developed countries, however, increasing incomes are no longer associated with incremental consumption of animal protein as markets have become saturated. On the contrary, higher income often leads to a decrease in animal food consumption because of human health concerns, particularly the incidence of heart and blood circulation diseases associated with excessive consumption of animal fats.

Currently, over 80 percent of the world's population growth occurs in cities of developing countries. World-wide, urbanization has risen from 30 percent of the population to 45 percent in 1995 and is projected to reach 60 percent by 2025 (UNFPA, 1995). In the developed countries, urbanization rates have levelled at 80 percent while in the developing world urbanization still averages 37 percent with marked differences between the regions: 74 percent in Latin America but only 34 percent in Africa and Asia. In the past, many governments tried to slow down urbanization, but it is now increasingly recognized as a rational pattern of development as economic activity at higher levels of development benefit from agglomeration. Urban populations differ from rural populations in a higher consumption of animal products in their diets, further fuelling the demand (IFPRI, 1995).

Gross Domestic Product per capita and annual percentage change in different word regions
(US$, 1994)
change % 80–90per year %
East and South East Asia9476.19.2
South Asia3183.43.3
Central and South America3,392-0.11.4
West Asia & North Africa2.309-2.2-0.5
Sub-Saharan Africa4821.1-1.3
Eastern Europe and CIS1.5021.21.0

Source: Ingco et al (1996), UN (1996), OECD (1997)

The rapidly increasing demand for livestock products pushes against a traditional resource base for livestock production that cannot expand at the same pace. Diversity is a main characteristic of traditional livestock production. A wide array of feed resources is being used, most of which have no or only limited alternative value. These include pastures in marginal lands, crop residues and agro-industrial by-products, but also waste from households and industrial food preparation. The scope for increasing the traditional feed resource base is limited. Firstly, across the world the most productive pasture lands are being turned into cropland as the demand for high-potential arable land continues to increase. Likewise, degraded cropland is fallowed and reconverts into poor pastures. As a result, the overall pasture area may not change much but the land productivity is likely to be lower. Technologies that increase pasture productivity have shown impressive results in Latin America but, globally, productivity growth is marginal. Secondly, the basic principles of crop research are to optimise the transformation of land resources, solar energy and inputs into high-value products, for example, into grains. Consequently, the availability of crop residues for animal feed does not increase with rising yields.

The desire for greater productivity form livestock is resulting in a change in the use of animal genetic resources. Traditional genotypes, which have developed through exploitation of harsh environments, cannot match the sector's demands for higher productivity. Now that the means exist to modify the bio-physical environment, even in the tropics, exotic genotypes are being introduced which provide a higher return on external inputs. Consequently, the use of indigenous breeds is diminishing.

As the world economy develops and many countries industrialize, people seek different uses of livestock. Today, non-food functions are generally in decline and are replaced by cheaper and more convenient substitutes. The following trends may be depicted:

The opportunities that arise from a strong market demand conflict with the limited potential to expand the conventional resource base. This results in an extremely dynamic situation in terms of technology and resource utilisation. Technological progress has achieved a doubling of productivity per animal in OECD countries over the past 30 years. A major productivity gap remains in developing countries. Closing this productivity gap could offer opportunities to relieve the strain on natural resources but it is clear that this cannot be obtained by expanding the conventional resource base. Increasingly, the world livestock sector resorts to external inputs, notably high quality feed but also more productive breeds and better animal health and general husbandry inputs.

Grazing systems offer only limited potential for intensification, and livestock production is becoming increasingly crop-based. Thus, the importance of roughages as a feed resource is decreasing at the expense of cereals and agro-industrial by-products. There is an important species shift towards monogastric animals, mainly poultry and pigs. While ruminant meat accounted for 54 percent of the total meat production in the developing countries in 1970, this has gone down to 38 percent in 1990, and is projected to decrease further to 29 percent in 2010 (FAO, 1995). This species shift reflects the better conversion rates for concentrate feed by monogastric animals.

Livestock production is being separated from its land base and urbanized, and is assuming the features of industrial production. In recent years, industrial livestock production grew at twice the rate (4.3 percent) of that in mixed farming systems (2.2 percent) and more than six times the grazing system production growth (0.7 percent) (Seré and Steinfeld, 1996). This trend has accelerated in the past five years.

In agro-ecological terms livestock production is growing more rapidly in humid and sub-humid zones than in arid tropical zones and the highlands. The growing human population largely explains the expansion of livestock into the more humid zones: when people move into an area, land is cleared which reduces the threat of animal diseases that would otherwise have precluded livestock production. It is, therefore, in these zones that pressure on the environment will build up most rapidly. The complexity of livestock-environment interactions makes generalizations difficult and has left a void in the development of comprehensive policies in this regard.

In some regions, such as the Americas, livestock ownership is severely skewed in favour of the wealthier groups in society. For example in southern Africa and Central America, political decisions are often influenced by livestock owners. In the European Union and the USA, the livestock lobbies belong to the most powerful political action groups. Yet in many other regions, such as the Indian sub-continent and North Africa, livestock is especially owned by the poor. In sub-Saharan Africa, herders are politically marginalized.

Typically, livestock products have a high elasticity of demand but traditionally a low elasticity of supply, particularly in land-based smallholder production. Because of this demand pattern it has been argued that livestock development tends to favour the higher-income sectors of society - an isolated view, yet one that has deterred potential donors - but does not adequately take account of benefits on the supply side. These factors have created a policy void which is further exacerbated by the general move, in developing and developed countries alike, to reduce the presence of governments and to liberalize markets and trade.

Following the GATT agreement, international trade is being liberalized; in many countries more reliance is put on market forces and national economies have become deregulated. Thus, there has been a trend away from national self-sufficiency to a greater reliance on international trade. Price supports and subsidies are successively being removed and producers left to compete. Likewise, capital, labour and commodity markets are increasingly turning international. In very general terms, this means that the global pattern of livestock production in terms of geographical distribution, resources used and technology applied is redeveloping along more rational premises. Livestock production becomes less productive where it has benefited from domestic market protection (EC, Near East) and it may become more productive where it used to be penalized because it had no access to international markets (CSA, SSA).

Market liberalization is also an important factor in national markets in many developing countries where goods now move more freely and price administration is decreasing. Trade is a major determinant of livestock environment interactions and is of international dimension.

Trade changes the geographical pattern of livestock production, with potential negative and positive impacts (FAO, 1995, SOFA). Trade also changes the pattern and level of consumption. Trade separates production from consumption, in geographical terms. For trade both in feed and in livestock products, this has implications which need to be addressed in national policies and international agreements. An analysis conducted by FAO (SOFA, 1995) suggests that in many cases trade liberalization and environmental concerns are compatible. Given an appropriate response to environmental protection, whether through market incentives or through regulation, and adequate services (information, training and extension), consumer needs can be met at lower environmental costs than in a protected market.

A world economy emerges, with great opportunities but also inherent dangers. How can public goods, human well-being, equality, health and the environment be protected and fostered?

At the same time, the realm of governments is being reduced. Extended public services have been trimmed, forced by the need to reduce budgets and to respond to international market pressure. This trend started in the late eighties in most countries and accelerated in the early nineties. Reduced government interventions have had the most dramatic effects in the CIS and Eastern European countries, reshaping the livestock sector in technological and institutional terms. Starting in 1979, China began adopting market-oriented principles of economic management. In the OECD countries, reduced subsidies are changing the role of livestock as a converter of surplus products generated by wasteful policies, and more rational patterns of livestock production are evolving. Many developing countries embarked on major reforms, including reductions in public services, privatization of state-owned enterprises, removal of interventions that had caused currency overvaluation, and reduced capital controls. With reduced budgets, governments are becoming more selective in their policy measures and subsidies, and services become better targeted. In many instances, for example in EC countries, this implies a move away from price subsidies to more direct forms of income subsidisation. At the same time, the roles of public and private services are changing. Governments are increasingly concentrating on roles where they are essential as guardians of public goods.

In many developing countries, economic development is finally taking place and at an unparalleled speed, involving a vast amount of resources. Animal production is part of this development. Because of its major impact on global agricultural production, this provides a unique opportunity towards the creation of jobs, income and poverty alleviation in developing countries.

Increased attention to livestock-environment interactions is therefore of critical importance in sustaining the world's resource base. These interactions have been the subject of much conjecture, often lacking objectivity, and over-simplifying complex relationships. Such scarcity of informed decision-making has often aggravated he negative effects. For example, the misperceptions regarding overgrazing in the arid areas led to measures which controlled stocking rates and movements, thereby causing more, rather than less, land degradation. A better understanding of the complementarity of domesticated and wild animals would have led to greater species wealth and improved well-being of local human populations.

Finding the balance between increased food production and the preservation of the world's natural resources remains a major challenge. It is clear that food will have to be produced at less cost to the natural resource base than at present. Arguably, the environmental problems associated with livestock production would best be resolved by reducing consumption of their products, as many environmentalists suggest (see, for example, Goodland, 1996). We believe that chances for lowering the overall demand are close to nil and that the billions of poor people have a right to improve their diet. We acknowledge that consumption of meat and other livestock products is excessive in some countries and social classes, causing medical problems such as cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. For the large majority of people, however, particularly in the developing countries, livestock products remain a desired food for nutritional value and taste. This, as well as the developing requirements of the majority of countries need to be respected.

The theme of this Conference is livestock and the environment. As we have seen, the issue is surrounded by complex and extremely dynamic factors. New risks and new opportunities emerge, to which we need to respond. This takes me back to the nature of the conflict. It is inappropriate to speak about livestock and the environment as a conflict. The conflict is in our changing needs and expectations as they relate to both livestock and the environment. As we have seen, the role of livestock is changing, away from a multi-purpose tool and companion, engrained in many societies and company through history to a sole provider of food, or better high value animal protein. In many ways, this change is too rapid for the mass of agricultural producers to keep pace with; new forms of production emerge. At the same time, different roles are assigned to the environment, thoroughly modified in large parts of the world, but left largely untouched in vast areas Our future rests on dwindling natural resources, and we can extract less and less.

Undoubtedly, livestock are at the core of big environmental problems and other risks, such as threats to human health. But they are also at the core of global change with emerging opportunities for development and human well-being. These need to be seized, and in the process, the role of international organizations, governments, farmers and other stakeholders needs to be redefined. Already, some requirements can be identified:

Livestock development issues of global concern, such as efficient agricultural resource use, land husbandry, changes in demand for food and primary products, international exchange of goods, capital and knowledge, all call for international coordination to help manage the speed and direction of these changes since they go beyond the capacity of individual national governments. These issues must be dealt with both from a policy and technology perspective to be blended into strategies that position livestock in development so as to make their optimal contribution.


FAO (1995). Alexandratos, N. (Ed.) World Agriculture: Towards 2010. FAO and John Wiley & Sons. Rome and Chichester.

FAO (1995). State of food and agriculture (SOFA). FAO Agriculture Series No. 28. Rome.

Goodland, R. (1996). Environmental sustainability and eating better. The case against grain-fed meat. Mimeograph, Arlington.

IFPRI (1995). A 2020 Vision for food, agriculture and environment. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C.

Sere, C. and Steinfeld, H. (1996). World livestock production systems: Current status, issues and trends. Animal Production and Health Paper No. 127.FAO, Rome.

UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities) (1995). State of world population. New York.



Livestock Advisor, Agriculture and Natural Resource Department, World Bank


The interactions between livestock production and the environment are complex. Understanding the physical mechanisms, with which livestock improve or degrade the global natural resource base of land, air, water and bio-diversity is clearly important; however, human actions and activities, which make livestock behave the way they do, are much more important. In this Conference on Livestock and the Environment, it would therefore be incomplete to look only at physical interactions, such as the effect of stocking rate on the vegetation, or quality of feed on methane emission and global warming. A broader framework is required, which links human behavior and biological phenomena, such as grazing behavior and waste emission, into comprehensive models.

This presentation seeks to sketch that broader framework. It will first describe the two conceptual models used in the Livestock-Environment Study, then use these models to describe general principles regarding livestock-environment interactions, within and beyond production systems, and how future demand will affect the dynamics of those interactions. To provide the overall context, the paper will then link the objectives and scope of the Study with the same two conceptual models. The following papers in this Conference will focus on particular production systems, or describe cases within production systems with particular interesting policy-technology interactions.

A conceptual framework for livestock-environment interactions.

The conceptual framework used for the Study, which will also be followed in several presentations in this Conference, consists of a combination of two well known models: the Pressure (driving force)-State-Response (PSR) model, developed by OECD (1996), and the induced innovation model by Ruttan and Hayami (1985). These models are complementary. The PSR model links the pressure from livestock production (as resulting from demand and the socio-political environment of production), to changes in the state of the natural resources. These changes then may cause a response of the society. This response, mostly implemented through policy and institutional changes, in turn changes the relative prices or availability of inputs, inducing the use of alternative technology. For example, demand for pork and import protection of pork production, may lead to excessive production of manure and waste, which may lead to water pollution, ammonia emission and acid rains, and loss of bio-diversity. This may cause society to abolish the import protection and impose taxation on the amount of waste produced. This, in turn may lead to the introduction of technologies, such as additives and genetic improvement for better feed conversion, etc.thus reducing the amount of waste. In its simplest form, the model (integrating the PSR and induced innovation models) would be like this:

1 Paper based on De Haan et al. (1997)

This conceptual model is now being used by several international and national agencies.

Pressure: demand, policies and institutions

Steinfeld et al (1997) describe the expected dramatic increase in demand for livestock products, and the stagnant, but still substantial, demand for non-food services of livestock. This paper will concentrate on the policy and institutional conditions, which affect demand or exacerbate the way demand for livestock products interact with the environment.

There are four types of policy or institutional conditions, which might affect that pressure (Young, 1996). They are:

State: within and beyond production systems.

Production systems: the main arena for livestock-environment interaction

Most livestock-environment interactions are production systems specific. Production systems are therefore used in this Study as the main physical arenas in which livestock - environment interactions occur. Production systems are agro-ecological systems, where similar combinations of market opportunities and resource endowment lead to similar production modes. For this Study the world's livestock production is classified according to three production systems, mainly based on criteria of amount of feed produced within the own system:

Currently, the mixed farming system produces globally more than half the meat, and 90 percent of the milk. Most of the remaining production comes from the industrial system.

Any classification simplifies, is reductionist, and is therefore open to criticism. For example, this classification does not account for the interactions between systems, such as occurs intensively between the grazing and the mixed farming and crop systems, for example in the Sahel.

Principles of Livestock-Environment interactions (impact domains) within production systems.

The grazing and mixed farming systems are, in principle, rather closed systems, where the waste produced is used again within the same system. This means that there is a direct incentive for the producer to utilize this waste in an environmentally sustainable fashion. Environmental problems occur, when these incentives disappear. This is the case, when the system opens up (or as the economists would say; “when externalities occur”), for example, when collective grazing rights deteriorate and communal grazing areas become open access areas. It is also the case, when outside pressures strongly disturb the balance between nutrient inputs and outputs. These pressures can come from a growing population, as is the case in Central Africa, where the nutrient outflow is so strong that serious nutrient imbalances occur. This is called the involution of the system. It is also the case in the developed world, where the pressure from feed and fertilizer subsidies causes the use of excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer and feed. This leads to nutrient loading of soil and water.

The industrial system is considered by many the antithesis of an environmentally benign system. It is an open system, where most of the waste produced in the enterprise can not be used within the same system. Without incentives and regulations, large amounts of waste (the industrial system produces about 8 billion tons of waste per year) would be emitted outside the system. However, industrial production also has advantages, most notably, in its efficient use of feed grains. In doing so, it might relieve some environmental pressure from other systems, and so save fragile eco-systems, which otherwise would be affected by the grazing or mixed systems.

Impact domains beyond production systems: Global overlays

There are a number of livestock-environment interactions, which go beyond the confines of a production system. They are:

Response: differential growth of the different production systems.

Based on past trends and future demands, the Study projects a strong expansion of the industrial system. If that is true, this would have significant impacts on global natural resources.

Some growth is to be expected in the grazing system, but this will be slow, as it has been in the past. Current trends show good grazing land being taken over by crops and urbanization. In effect, in the OECD countries and in Asia, the area of grassland is declining. In addition, there is no significant breakthrough at the horizon, which would change the yield or feeding value of tropical grasses.

Nor can the mixed farming system be expected to supply the major part of the increased demand. In this system the growing pressure for economies of scale and from increasing market opportunities, would lead to the specialization of production. Most likely, the major growth would therefore have to come from the industrial system, and mostly from intensive crop-based pig and poultry production, as already shown by the past trends. This would imply that livestock production moves from a closed to an open production system with less opportunities and incentives to recycle its own “waste products”. The strong growth of the industrial system would for this reason have mostly negative impacts on the natural resource base (nutrient loading, soil losses, air quality and losses in domestic and wild bio-diversity).

Countervailing forces to these trends would be increasing grain prices, a much stricter internalization of the environmental costs in the producer price, or increased concern for animal welfare. A quantum leap in tropical livestock production, which could also significantly alter these projections, would be a major breakthrough in ruminant nutrition, for example through the identification of micro-organisms, able to break down the crude fiber in the rumen of tropical forages.

However, whatever happens, there will be increased pressure by livestock production on the natural resource base in all production systems. Over the next decades, producers, livestock technicians, environmentalists, policy makers and project implementors, therefore face a considerable task to get the policy framework right, so that environmentally the most friendly technologies are being used to satisfy the growing demand.

The challenge: the identification of the appropriate policies.

General principles

A number of general principles deserve to be mentioned first (Young, 1996). The first general principle concerns the approach. Environmental impacts from pressure by livestock can be reduced by regulating and prohibiting them, or by reducing the underlying causes of the problem. The latter is more effective, and as it removes the incentive to cause the problem, and therefore requires less monitoring. Thus, for nomadic herders in Africa, alternative employment generation, good pricing policies and strengthening the responsibility for the stewardship of their land, through reinforcement of their traditional grazing rights, is more effective than trying to control, through outside authorities, the animal stocking rate.

The second general principle concerns the targeting. A key lesson from the past is that social objectives (i.e. increasing farmers income) should not be coupled to mechanisms which determine market prices. For example, the input subsidies and price supports in the EU have caused the concentration of intensive units in several OECD countries. It would be better to provide direct income support.

The third general principle is that a mixture of instruments is almost always required.

Specific instruments

Some of the key aspects of each policy instrument are described below. Young (1996) and the later papers provide more information.

This study: an application of the PSR and induced innovation models.

The Livestock-Environment Study, the main background document of this Conference, can be seen as an application of the PSR and induced innovation models. The Study responded directly to a concern of society, in seeking a more objective assessment of livestock-environment impacts and the identification of policies and technologies, which mitigate the negative and enhance the positive impacts of livestock. In this Study, the focus is on the environmental impacts of livestock development only. Other issues, perceived to be problem areas in relation to livestock development are not covered. Thus, the Study accepts the consumption level as a given (indicating that quite clearly in some parts of the world. consumption level are high and can be reduced, but that in most parts, consumption levels are going to rise). It also does not cover animal welfare.


This Livestock-Environment work is at a crucial point. If the projections and conclusions in the Study are correct, everybody involved in livestock development and the environment, i.e., producers, livestock specialists and environmentalists, policy makers and scientists, face a major challenge. We hope that at the end of this Conference, a consensus will have been created on the nature and severity of this challenge and on the need for and the direction of future actions to address that challenge. The initiative, with its widespread participation and global and comprehensive focus, can ensure that implementable actions can be readily translated into on-the-ground activities.


de Haan. C, H. Steinfeld and H. Blackburn (1997). Livestock and the Environment: Finding a Balance: Wrenmedia, Suffolk, U.K.

Hayami Y. and Ruttan (1985). Agricultural Development: An international perspective. John Hopkins Press, Baltimore.

OECD(1996). Developing Agro-Environmental Indicators: June 1996. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris.

Steinfeld H., C. de Haan and H. Blackburn (1997). Livestock and the Environment: Issues and Options. Wrenmedia, Suffolk, U.K.

Young M.D. (1996). Maintaining Harmony: Equitable and efficient means to minimize negative effects of livestock on the environment. Paper presented in the Workshop on Livestock and the Environment, September 1995. World Bank Washington D.C.



a International Livestock Research institute, P.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
b IICA, Panama
d Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Rome
e International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada
f World Bank, Washington, USA

1. Introduction

Livestock provide essential commodities and services to the majority of the world's population. With increasing numbers of people, meat production is projected to increase from 200 million to 310 million tons per year by the year 2020 (De Haan et al., 1996). Although demand for livestock products is stagnating in developed countries, it is rapidly increasing elsewhere due to urbanization and associated shift in eating habits towards livestock products. In addition to providing meat, milk, eggs, hides and skins, livestock provide draught power and manure to enhance soil fertility. Livestock form an integral part of the social fabric for many peoples while they serve as a capital reserve available for hard times. While nutritional trends in developed countries may be in favour of reducing consumption of animal products, in developing countries nutritional needs for animal products are still high.

In spite of their growing global importance, livestock are increasingly being held responsible for many adverse effects on the environment. Loss of vegetative cover, reduced biodiversity, soil erosion and compaction, and excessive run-off often result from over-grazing. High concentrations of livestock contribute to contamination of ground water, eutrophication, and soil pollution. The processing of animal products in urban areas of developing countries especially generates waste materials creating disposal problems. Livestock can produce significant quantities of “greenhouse” gases (e.g. methane) thereby possibly contributing to global warming. However, most criticism of livestock agriculture do not take into account the fact that negative effects are frequently related to underlying driving forces such as inappropriate land use policies, population pressures, rural poverty, insufficient ecological knowledge in tropical areas and inappropriate technology.

These trends and concerns were identified by several stakeholders, including representatives from several donor agencies. A study led by the World Bank, FAO and USAID (De Haan et al., 1996) addressed these issues, according to the main livestock production systems practiced in the various regions of the world.

ILRI, together with IDRC, World Bank and FAO, were requested to organize and conduct a global electronic conference and face to face consultations which would address the issue of finding a balance between the positive roles of livestock in human affairs and their beneficial impact and the negative consequences for the local and global environment. The objective of the consultation is to provide a global forum at which views of stakeholders in developing countries are fully represented in a global discussion on the role of livestock in sustainable agricultural development and natural resource conservation.

2. Objectives of the Global Consultation

The main objectives of the conference were:

  1. To give all stakeholders the opportunity to have their views on livestock, environment, and human needs interactions included in a position paper to be developed at a global meeting in the Netherlands in June, 1997;
  2. Based on all stakeholders' perspectives, to identify strategies (policy, research, extension, etc.), to alleviate the negative and enhance the positive impacts of livestock on natural resources in different types of livestock production systems in different countries and ecoregions; and
  3. To identify areas of common interests which can lead to future research and development collaboration among institutions, based on ecoregional partnership and global networks.

3. Mechanisms of the Global Consultation

The consultation involved two major activities:

An organizing meeting was held in Addis Ababa on January 21–23, 1997 to plan the electronic conference, the local non-electronic consultations and the follow-up activities. Some 10 participants from the main donor and executing agencies (FAO, INFORUM, WB, ILRI and IDRC) attended the meeting and, in the following weeks, continued the planning of the activities.

The electronic conference took place between the 10th of March and the end of May of 1997. During the conference, the main issues emanating from the study on Livestock and Environment Interactions, as well as ecoregional case-studies and personal inputs were discussed by participants from both developed and developing countries. The conference was moderated and assisted by ILRI, INFORUM, FAO, IICA and IDRC.

The non-electronic consultations, which included individual interviews and round-table meetings, were organized and conducted in selected developing countries which represent “hot spots” for livestock and environment interactions. These face-to-face consultations were facilitated by local convenors with the support from the organizers. The consultations were participated by policy-makers, government officials, environmentalists, developing agencies, agricultural researchers, social scientists, extension agents, university educators, traders, farmers and representatives of farmers' organizations. The proceedings of the conference are being presented at this meeting.

4. The electronic conference

The electronic conference began with the process of subscription and self-introduction by the participants. For subscriptions and discussions, a list was opened at the central FAO computer in Rome by the Conference Manager. This was the LxE-List. Four complementary lists were also opened. These lists were based on four different livestock production systems and related problems discussed in the multidonor study namely, grazing, mixed, and industrial systems, and cross-systems issues. The formal exchange began on March 10. The conference was divided in three periods of discussions: the first period of plenary session, the second period of four parallel break-out discussion groups and the final plenary session. During the first plenary session, the discussion focused on the keynote paper which was previously distributed to all subscribers to the LxE-List. At the end of this period, all comments by the participants were responded to by the authors of the keynote paper. Participants were then invited to subscribe to one or more of four discussions groups. The chapters corresponding to the four systems from the study were distributed to the respective discussion group. Participants also received the case-studies contributed by some of them, sorted out by production system. Summaries of the discussions about both the case-studies and the chapters of the discussion paper were produced by the moderator. The LxE-List reconvened for the final plenary session which focused on producing conclusions and recommendations aimed at balancing livestock, the environment and human needs. A summary of the discussions was also produced by the moderator.

i) Participants in the electronic conference

A total of 1,045 people from 86 countries subscribed to the LxE-List . Out of them, 147 people participated in the exchange by either sending in case-studies or commenting during the discussions. The group discussions were not evenly active as most participation occurred in the grazing (33 people) and mixed (29 active participants) whereas the industrial and cross systems groups recorded 7 active participants each.

a) Participation by regions

The majority of the participants came from developed countries, as indicated in Table 2. The low level of participation from the developing countries was probably a reflection of the absence of electronic communication facilities and/or the difficulties of using such facilities where they existed. The cost of using such facilities are so high in most developing countries that only a few can afford to use them.

Table 1: Participants by region
Participation by regionParticipants
North America43
Central & Latin America and Caribbean14
Australia and New Zealand9
Africa (Sub-Saharan)7
West Asia and North Africa2

b) Profiles of participants and main areas of interest

A cross-section of people with varying backgrounds participated in the conference. They ranged from academicians and researchers from both developing and developed countries, farmers, journalists, traders, to professionals in government departments and NGO's national and international.

Table 2: Participants' specialization and areas of interest
Participation by specializationParticipants
Main areas of interest
Animal Scientists45Feed & genetic resources, animal biodiversity, herd health management
Environmentalists18Pollution of water, soil & air from animal wastes, environmental degradation, conserving biodiversity,
Agriculturalists16Integrated livestock-cropping systems, nutrient cycling, crop residues as animal feed, forage legumes in crop rotations
Social Scientists15Livestock production and food security, poverty and resource degradation, policy impact on livestock production and resources conservation,
Farmers3Livestock production and human needs, impact of market structure and policy options on livestock production
Others*3Agricultural systems and human needs, global food demand, long-term needs of pastoralists, livestock as a social status

* Includes entrepreneurs

Table 2 summarizes the profiles and main interests of the 1,045 people who subscribed to the conference. The dominance of livestock scientists is very clear from the subscribers' list. These included animal breeders, veterinarians, animal nutritionists, meat scientists, epidemiologists, animal geneticists, and poultry specialists. The environmentalists, who accounted for 18 % of the subscribers, included ecologists, biologists, geographers, and foresters. The agriculturalists who were 16 % of the people, included agronomists (crop, forage and pasture), entomologists, soil scientists, and land use scientists. The social scientists, who accounted for 15 % of the people, included economists, sociologists, and anthropologists. The category of others included computer scientists, engineers, journalists, philosophers, and traders.

Table 3: Participants with interests in global issues, issues related to Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, and developed countries.
Interested inParticipants
Global issues27
Developed countries22
African countries17
Latin America & Caribbean countries11
Asian countries5
Not specified18

It is clear from Table 3 that the majority of participants were interested in livestock-environmental issues at global scale and those related to developed countries (North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand).

ii) The first plenary session

The first plenary session discussed the keynote paper. Most comments from the participants expressed the view that the paper was very informative and thought provoking. All criticisms from participants were quite constructive and the authors answered and clarified those comments. The main points raised by the participants and the authors were:

iii) Parallel groups discussions

After the first plenary session, four parallel groups were organized to discuss livestock-environment interactions in grazing, mixed and industrial systems, and the cross-systems issues. To promote and focus the discussions, these groups received the corresponding case-studies sent by participants and the relevant chapters from the multidonor study.

a) The grazing systems group discussion

The first period of group discussions centered around case-studies which provided information about a set of key questions. A total of 34 grazing systems' case-studies were sent by participants. These case-studies came from Argentina (1), Australia (5), Bolivia (1), Botswana (1), Brazil (1), Canada (1), Cape Verde (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Ecuador (2), Honduras/Nicaragua (1), Mexico (1), Mongolia (1), Niger (2), Pakistan (1), Peru (1), Scotland (2), South Africa (1), Tanzania (2), Uruguay (1), USA (5), West Africa (1) and Zimbabwe (1).

The second period of group discussions in this room focused on the grazing systems chapter of the multi-donor study on Livestock and the Environment. This discussion period considered two central aspects of the chapter: the characterization of hot spots and driving forces on the one hand and the recommendations on the other. This report summarizes the comments and contributions on both the diagnostic and the recommendations aspects of the chapter.

The assertion that policy is a key element controlling the interaction of livestock and the environment came out quite strongly from the discussions. For example, Niamir-Fuller (1997) has shown that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon decreased from 35,000 km2 per year in 1980 to 10,000 km2 per year in 1996, due to a decrease of government subsidies to large ranchers, decrease in infrastructure development, among other factors. One problem is that policy formulation is based on a narrow perception of the environment which tend to prioritize technology determinants. There are a number of ecosystems which have been grazed by cattle for centuries, and are far from being degraded, but they are threatened by a change toward crop production (Umrani, 1997). It is argued that lack of clear understanding of all the ecological and sociological processes in the interaction between humans and natural resources tend to lead to erroneous conclusions about the role of livestock on the environmental processes. There is need to link technical, ecological, economic, social and political perspectives in research and teaching.

b) The mixed system group discussion

A total of 29 mixed systems' case-studies were sent by participants. The case-studies came from Argentina (1), Australia (1), Benin (1), Burundi (1), Canada (1), Chile (1), China (1), Ethiopia (1), Greece (1), Honduras (2), India (1), Italy (1), Malawi (1), Mexico (2), Nepal (1), Nigeria (1), Peru (1), Spain (1), Switzerland (1), Tanzania (2), Tunisia (1), Uruguay (1), USA (2), Venezuela(1) and West Africa (1).

Manure from livestock can provide nutrients for crops in a crop-livestock system. However, the role of livestock in the nutrient and energy equilibrium through crop-livestock integration is still debatable in certain ecosystems. For example, Fernandez-Rivera et al. (1995) reported that livestock only returns about 50 % of the organic matter, 45 % of N and 85 % of P intake through faeces deposits. Thus, it is questioned whether soil fertility could be maintained through crop-livestock integration, without external fertilizers inputs.

Unbalanced livestock-environment interactions were often attributed to both faulty technologies and wrong policies and we have to deal with both aspects as the policies we set influence the technical problems, and vice versa. Long term societal goal setting is essential to define what technical issues become important to serve those goals agreed upon. It was argued that the world's policy makers have a distorted paradigm concerning natural resources, which is based on the current economic theory that puts no other value on natural resources than the cost of extracting them (Smith, 1997). A clear distinction should be made between the different policy instruments such as price policies and subsidies on the one hand, and norms, rules and regulations on the other. Lack of alternative investment opportunities for farmers is a more important determinant of livestock densities than production technology.

There is need for communication between biophysical and social scientists for understanding the issues and problems, generation of technologies, and formulation of policies and strategies to overcome problems.

c) The industrial systems group discussion

A total of 8 industrial systems' case-studies were sent by participants. The case-studies in this group came from Canada (1), Dominican Republic (1), Greece (1), India (1) Netherlands (1), Pakistan (1), USA (1) and World (1).

Discussions in this group were rather less active than in the grazing and mixed systems rooms. It was observed that developing countries place less importance on environmental issues than developed countries. It was argued that monogastric livestock production should be intensified in countries which face severe shortages of cereals for human consumption. However, it has been shown that N and P and various heavy metals generally produced from industrial monogastric livestock systems pollute the environment. For example, Bos and de Wit (1996) concluded that 44, 50, and 20 % of N excreted by pigs, broilers and laying hens, respectively, is lost and becomes harmful to the environment.

One of the problems associated with this system is the lack of commitment from society to take the necessary steps and to incur the necessary costs of protecting natural resources.

d) The cross-system group discussion

Participants in this group received all case-studies and the cross-system chapter from the multidonor study. Again, discussions in this group were rather less active than in the grazing and mixed systems rooms.

The issue of methane production by livestock systems and its effect on the environment is still very debatable. Methane is considered to have a global warming potential of about 20 – 30 times that of carbon dioxide (Duxbury et al., 1993). According to Vermorel (1995), methane production is responsible for 15 % of the greenhouse effect. Animals and their excreta produce 23 % of the methane while the rest is produced by insects (22 %), water meadow land (21 %), rice fields (20 %), and losses from the use of conventional energy sources (14 %). EPA (1993) estimate that about 95 % of the total methane emissions from livestock digestive systems comes from cattle (75 %), buffalo (10 %), and sheep (10 %).

Generally, environmental problems related to agricultural systems still are a matter of debate as in certain ecoregions livestock is perceived as a cause of degradation whereas in other regions well managed animals are seen as a means to stop and revert degradation. There appear to be few options to use fertilizers to maintain soil productivity in developing countries but maintaining soil productivity is a requirement. The authors of the study list the impact of concentrate feed production on land and water quality as one of the impact domains. The group commented that the use of concentrates in livestock production is prompted where population pressure on land restricts extensive livestock production, where feed conversion to animal product is high, or where the ratio of livestock product to feed price is relatively high.

The highest number of case-studies came from Latin America and the Caribbean region followed by Africa (Table 4). The absence of case-studies under the industrial system in Africa suggests that this system of livestock production is not yet very prominent.

Table 4: Summary of the number of case-studies from different regions
North America63211
Latin America & Caribbean109120
Australia & New Zealand5117

iv) The final plenary discussion

The plenary discussions covered the last three weeks of the electronic conference and focused on a final analysis aimed at producing the main conclusions and recommendations of the conference.

5. The non-electronic local consultations

Local consultations were aimed at obtaining the views and perceptions of stakeholders from developing countries who might not have access to electronic mail or the time to get involved in the electronic conference. Local individual consultations were carried out in Bolivia, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen in West Asia and North African (WANA) region, in Niger, Nigeria and South Africa in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) region, and India in Asia.

Group consultations were conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in South America southern cone region, and in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland in the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) region.

a) Methodology of the local consultations

With the exception of the South American southern cone and the opportunistic consultation in Southern Africa, local consultations were carried out in the selected individual countries listed above. In all cases, interviews and/or round tables involving representatives of different categories of stakeholders were conducted by selected local convenors. Questions and discussion issues were previously defined by the conference organizers. In most cases, consulted stakeholders included livestock farmers, crop-livestock producers, farmers groups, government officials and policy makers, educational institutions, NGO representatives, agricultural and social scientists, extension agents and industrialists.

b) State of the natural resources

There is a striking coincidence in most reports in describing a critical state and an ongoing process of degradation of all natural resources and environmental variables. All reports coincide in pointing out deforestation, soil erosion, reduced soil fertility, biodiversity losses, water contamination, waste disposal, and greenhouse gases emissions as ongoing environmental problems. For example, large scale ranching is estimated to have contributed to more than 50% of deforestation in the Amazon (Niamir-Fuller, 1997).

However, the direct links of livestock production as an immediate causal factor of significant environmental degradation appear less clearly. There is a paucity of data about the role of livestock production in such degradation. This paucity of information is shown by the fact that quantitative indicators of natural resources conditions and trends, as affected by different livestock production systems and managements, are seldom quoted. It is also noticeable that for participants it was easier to mention environmental degradation than to describe positive effects of livestock on the environment. For instance, mentions of the carbon sequestration potential of grasses, the preservation and restoration of soil microfauna, and the capture and protection of water resources by rangelands were almost absent.

c) Driving forces of natural resources degradation

Most reports coincide in listing the following driving forces of environmental degradation: increasing human population pressure, micro and macro economic policies, cultural values, poverty, land tenure characterized by communal ownership, lack of appropriate technology to harmonize productivity with resource conservation, lack of awareness of the livestock-environment-human needs interactions, lack of infrastructure to facilitate marketing, and lack of involvement of local communities in their own development. Some of the reports pointed out that livestock is not a primary driving force.

d) The role of livestock on resource degradation

Direct negative impacts of livestock on natural resources are not explicitly described by participants in the local consultations. Thus, there is no indication of how much of the observed environmental degradation is directly attributable to livestock production. However, the following causal relationships concerning direct livestock effects on natural resources, are quoted: Overgrazing, overstocking, and feeding of crop residues to livestock without returning manure to the land.

e) The response of society to environmental degradation

In general, reports indicate that there is a poor response of society, due to the low awareness of environmental issues. However, some trends such as the creation of governments' environmental bodies, environmental NGOs, and the inclusion of environmental concerns in policy formulation are emerging. But the problem remains of insufficient scientific data to inform policy makers, compounded by the lack of effective interaction between scientists and policy makers. There is also a lack of effective social participation in policy making and mechanisms to enforce environmental legislation.

6. Conclusions and recommendations

a) General issues

The large number of participants in the conference can be taken as a measure of some degree of success in the short term.

b) Conference participation

In spite of the fact that the conference organizers made tremendous efforts to attract wide participation from developing countries and a broad range of stakeholders, the majority of the participants were from developed countries (Table 1) and were animal scientists (Table 2). This was probably due to the fact that electronic communication systems are inadequate and very expensive in most developing countries. Another possible reason could be that developing countries place less importance on environmental issues than developed countries environmental issues, an issue which came out clearly from the discussions.

c) Conference contents

Positive side
The conference has managed to create awareness of the issues of livestock, environment and human need among the participants.

One of the main points emanating from the conference is that livestock receive a lot of unsubstantiated blame for environmental degradation. In fact, it has been shown that, although there are environmental problems associated with livestock, there are numerous concomitant examples of successful strategies to enhance positive and limit the adverse effects of livestock on the environment.

Negative side
However, it has also emerged that a lot of land degradation and environmental damage is associated with livestock production, mainly due to population pressure coupled with inappropriate livestock management practices. This is particularly so under grazing and mixed systems. Water and air pollution are the major livestock-related environmental problems under industrial systems.

It is clear from the conference discussion that one of the major gaps in dealing with livestock, environment and human needs is the paucity of information on livestock agriculture and the environment. Another gap in this is the lack of a holistic approach in most of the research dealing with livestock-environmental interactions. There is a rift between scientists and policy-makers; policies are often designed by economists and environmentalists without a holistic analysis of the problems and without any technical argumentation. Similarly, there is a rift between farmers and scientists as their sources of knowledge and their practical experience are different. Farmers, while conscious of the environmental impact of livestock production, tend to be more concerned of their immediate needs which, in most cases, may lead to long term environmental degradation.

Another gap is the divergence of environmental perceptions between people from developed countries and those from developing countries. It is argued that most of the environmentally related problems in developing countries are related to poverty and that policies should not only protect the environment but encourage more lucrative ways of managing livestock as any attempt to minimize livestock impact on the environment are bound to be futile if farmers do not have better economic alternatives.

On the other hand, livestock-related environmental problems in developed countries can be solved by tougher legislation in making livestock producers pay for the costs of environmental protection.

d) Local consultations vs. electronic conference

The local consultations provided on the spot and a grassroots' point of view of issues related to livestock, environment and human needs. The electronic conference dwelt much on research, development, policy, institutional collaboration, cross-system and global issues related to livestock-environmental interaction. Most of the discussions from the round table dwelt on direct livestock interaction with the environment since all the local consultations were conducted in developing countries where grazing and crop-livestock are the dominate livestock systems.

Most of the conferees of the electronic conference were professionals and scientists with broader but rather theoretical perception of the issues as they are somehow detached from the real situations on the ground. While there was a divergence of views from the many conferees in the electronic conference, there was a striking coincidence in most local consultation reports on the description of critical states and ongoing processes of degradation of all natural resources and environmental variables. All reports coincided in pointing out soil erosion, reduced soil fertility, biodiversity losses, water contamination, waste disposal, and greenhouse gases emissions as ongoing environmental problems, while increasing human population pressure, micro and macro economic policies, cultural values, poverty, land tenure characterized by communal ownership, lack of appropriate technology to harmonize productivity with resource conservation, lack of awareness of the livestock-environment-human needs interactions, lack of infrastructure to facilitate marketing, and lack of involvement of local communities in their own development as the main driving forces of environmental degradation.

However, the direct links of livestock production as immediate causal factor of significant environmental degradation appear less clearly. There is a paucity of data about the role of livestock production in such degradation, as shown by the fact that quantitative indicators of natural resources conditions and trends, as affected by different livestock production systems and managements, were seldom quoted.

e) Recommendations

The recommendations from the electronic conference and the round table consultations covered areas of policy, research, education, development projects, production systems, social empowerment, and institutional framework.

It was considered important that policies should be put in place to halt subsidies for animal feeds and to minimize communal grazing systems. Land tenure should enable ownership for rangelands and environmental costs should be internalized. Policy formulation should include environmental issues and, wherever, possible there should be policy incentives to promote adoption of environmentally friendly technology.

There is need for more research in developing technologies that enhance productivity with no adverse effects on the environment. Where paucity of information exists, research should be geared to produce basic data on livestock-environmental interaction with necessary threshold values for different livestock systems under varying ecosystems. Research should also focus on participatory development of agrosilvopastoral systems.

Development projects
Environmental Impact Assessment should become an integral part of development projects, and it should be mandatory that grass-roots communities and organizations be involved in formulation and implementation of development projects.

Production systems
Crop/livestock systems which employ soil conservation techniques should be encouraged. Agrosilvopastoral systems which contribute to increased productivity with a minimum negative impact on the environment should be encouraged. The use of adapted and improved grasses and legumes should increase. Where pressure on land increases, grazing and mixed systems will develop into more intensified systems. Such evolution is inevitable and should be facilitated.

Social empowerment
Economic terms of exchange between rural and urban products should be equitable. Rural people should be offered alternative means of economic life in order to release the pressure on limited land resources.

There is a need to increase public awareness of environmental issues in all educational institutions. It is necessary to raise education levels in rural areas so that rural people can understand the environmental implications of their activities.

Institutional framework
While many countries have environmental laws enshrined in their constitutions, such laws do not operate due to a lack of effective mechanisms to enforce environmental legislation.

7. Follow-up activities

A number of activities were considered to be undertaken as a follow-up to the electronic conference and the Wageningen conference. It was recognized that each institution would probably plan its follow-up activities. The activities include:

8. Acknowledgments

The organizers of the Electronic Conference on balancing livestock, the environment and human needs would like to thank the following people and organizations for their support and contribution to the conference.

a) Organizations:

The conference was funded and organized by FAO, World Bank, IDRC, ILRI, & INFORUM.

The conference organizers wish to thank ICARDA (Syria), ICRISAT (India), IICA(Panama), ADRI (Tanzania), CARDI (Jamaica), CAZRI (India), MARDI (Malaysia), CODESU &, CIP-CONDESAN (Peru), IICA-RISPAL (Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua), IDIAP (Panama), SACCAR (Botswana), IDESSA (Cote d'Ivoire), MAP-21 (Mongolia) for providing logistical support for conducting face-to-face round-table consultations.

b) Individuals:

The following management team worked tirelessly to ensure that the conference ran smoothly and on course. They are T. Fujita, Director, Animal Production and Health Division, FAO, Rome; Christine Ellefson, FAO, Rome; Ralph von Kaufmann, Director of External Relations, ILRI; and Harvey Blackburn (USDA/ARS).

The contribution of the following organizers of local consultations is gratefully acknowledged. These are Ercole Zerbin, ILRI (India); C. Devendra, Consultant (Malaysia); Jimmy Smith, ILRI (Nigeria); Salvador Fernandez, ILRI (Niger); Pierre Hiernaux, ILRI (Niger); Euan Thomson, ICARDA (Syria); Helen Raij, IDRC (Uruguay); Faroda, CAZRI (India); Sharif Ahmad, MARDI (Malaysia); Carlos Leon-Velarde & Roberto Quiroz, CIP-CONDESAN (Peru); Koffi Goli, IDESSA (Cote d'Ivoire); Bardarch, MAP-21 (Mongolia); and Brenda Lee Wilson, IDRC (Nepal).

The contribution of the following conveners of local consultations is gratefully acknowledged.

In Africa
Sahr Lebbie, Botswana; Mulumba Kamuanga, ILRI, Burkina Faso; G. ToureBH, Niger; Abdou Salla, ILRI, Cote d'Ivoire; Paul Mkonyi, ADRI, Tanzania.

Shadi Shamadeh, Lebanon; Len Reynolds, Yemen; Mahfouz Abu Zant, Jordan.

In LAC countries
Manuel Ruiz, Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico; Francis Asiedu, Jamaica; Alfredo Riesco & Carlos Leon Velarde, Peru; Sonia Chifflet & Carlos Arrelano Sota, Southern Cone (Temperate zone), Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, & Uruguay; Manuel de Gracia, Panama; Everardo Gonzalez, Colombia.

In Asia
Mathur, B.K., Jodhpur, India; Ajit Marus, Andhra Pradesh State, India; Jamakar, Eusof, Malaysia; Oyun-Erdene, Mongolia; Panday, S.B., Nepal; Sitanon Jesdapipat, Thailand.

9. References

Bos, J.F.F.P. & J. de Wit. 1996.Environmental impact assessment of landless monogastric livestock production systems. International Agricultural Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

De Haan, C., Steinfeld, H. and Blackburn, H. 1996. Livestock and the Environment: Finding a balance. Draft Summary Report. FAO/World Bank.

Duxbury, J.M., Harper, L.A., and Moiser, A.R. 1993. Contribution of agroecosystems to global climate change. In: Agricultural Ecosystem Effects on Trace Gasses and Global Climate Change. American Society of Agronomy Special Publication Number 55, Madison, WI, USA. pp. 1–18.

EPA. 1993. Options for reducing methane emissions internationally. Volume I: Technological options for reducing methane emissions.Report No. EPA/400-R-9. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA.

Fernandez-Rivera, S., Williams, T.O., Hiernaux, P., and Powell, J.M. 1995. Faecal excretion by ruminants and manure availability to crop production in the semi-arid West Africa. In: J.M. Powell et al. (eds.) Livestock sustainable nutrient cycling in mixed farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa.Vol. II, ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, pp 149–170.

Niamir-Fuller, M. 1997. Livestock production in the Amazon. A case-study presented to the Electronic Conference on Livestock, Environment and Human Needs, March to May, 1997.

Safley, L.M. Jr., Casada, M.E., Woodbury, J.W., and Roos, K.R. 1992. Global methane emission from livestock and poultry manure. Report Number EPA/400/1-91/048, U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, USA.

Smith, Burt. 1997. Response to remarks made by an economist. Electronic Conference on Livestock Environment and Human Needs, March to May, 1997.

Umrani, Aslam P. 1997. CSY recommendations. Electronic Conference on Livestock Environment and Human Needs, March to May, 1997.

Vermorel, M. 1995. Productions gazeuses et thermiques résultant des fermentations digestives. In: Jarrige et al. (eds.) Nutrition des ruminants domestiques - Ingestionet digestion. INRA, Paris, pp 648–670.

10. Appendices

I. Case-studies

Table I-1: Case-studies on grazing systems

CountryEcozoneMajor environmental degradation
ArgentinaHumid-temperatesoil erosion & compact. & loss of biodiversity
AustraliaTropicsexotic woody weeds
AustraliaTemperatedeforestation (historic)
AustraliaHumid sub-tropicsloss of biodiversity, low soil fert.
AustraliaArid, semi-arid wet-dry tropicsloss of biodiversity, soil erosion & compaction, habitat & nutrition loss, weed invasion
AustraliaArid, semi-aridincrease in shrubs/trees/non-native animals, soil erosion, low fertility, soil compaction
BoliviaTropical Wet and Drysoil erosion, soil compaction, weed invasions
CanadaTemperateair & groundwater pollution from livestock waste, reduced soil fertility
Cape VerdeArid, temperatedeforestation, loss of biodiversity
ColombiaWet-dry tropicsloss of biodiversity, soil compaction, deforestation of gallery forests
Costa RicaHumid Tropicsdeforestation
Ecuadorsemi-arid, 1600–2000 msoil erosion, compaction and loss of, subtropics productivity
Ecuadorhumid 1000–2000 m subtropicsdeforestation and loss of biodiversity, soil erosion
Honduras/NicaraguaTropics & subtropdeforestation; soil erosion, compaction, reduced fertility; loss of biodiversity
MexicoSub-humid, lowlands tropicaldeforestation, loss biodiversity, reduced soil fertility, pollution animal wastes
MongoliaMountain taiga/grass steppe & desertsoil erosion, decreasing soil fertility, desertification
NigerSemi-arid Tropicsloss vegetative cover, soil, eolian and hydric erosion; reduced soil fertility
NigerHot & dry arid & semi-aridloss of vegetation cover and soil erosion (desertification)
PakistanArid Subtropicsloss of biodiversity, soil erosion
PeruHumid tropical rainforestsloss of biodiversity, deforestation, soil erosion/compaction/reduced prod.
ScotlandTemperate highlandsloss of biodiversity, prevention of regeneration of woodland/scrub.
ScotlandTemperate maritimeloss of biodiversity
South AfricaSemi-arid subtropicaldeforestation, loss of biod. soil erosion
TanzaniaSemi-aridno evidence for degradation of soil or vegetation has been published
TanzaniaTropical-humid sub-humid, semi-ariddeforestation, soil erosion/reduced fert, bush fires, loss of biod., pollution
UruguaySub-humid temperateloss of biodiversity (grazing)
USAAridsoil erosion, desertification
USASubtropicswater pollution from animal wastes
USASemi-arid; temperate plainsbiodiversity decline; soil erosion; water table decline
USAArid warm temperatesoil erosion, replacement of grass by brush dominated ecosystems
USAHumid continentalwater pollution from animal wastes
West AfricaWet-Dry, Coastal tropicsdegrad: poverty, malnutrition, social conflicts; deforestation, erosion loss of biodiversity
ZimbabweSemi-Aridsoil erosion, deforestation, reduced soil fertility
Table I-2: Case-studies on mixed systems
ArgentinaHumid-temperatesoil erosion, soil compaction and loss of biodiversity
AustraliaWarm temperatesoil erosion, poorer soil structure, salinity, reduced soil fertility
BeninTropical, coastal-humiddecreasing soil fertility, deforestation, loss of biodiversity
BurundiTrop humid highlandsdecreasing soil fertility, overgrazing; soil erosion
CanadaTemperateair & groundwater pollution from livestock waste, reduced soil fertility
ChileSemi-aridsoil erosion, water/soil pollution from industry, agr. areas to urban
ChinaHumid, temperateloss of biodiversity, water pollution from animal wastes
EthiopiaHighlandsdeforestation, soil erosion, nutrient depletion, siltation
GreeceSemi-arid, coastal, Mediterraneanloss of biodiversity, soil erosion, water pollution from animal wastes, unpleasant odours
HondurasWet-drydeforestation, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion
Honduras/NicaraguaTropics & subtropicaldeforestation; soil erosion, compaction, reduced fertil.; loss of biodiversity
IndiaMid-altitude/monsoonalwater pollution and soil erosion, invasion of unpalatable weeds
ItalyMid altitudesoil erosion
MalawiSavanna tropicsdeforestation, soil erosion & reduced soil fertility
MexicoSub-humid; lowlands tropicsdeforestation, loss biodiv, reduced soil fertility, pollution animal wastes
MexicoTropical mountains and lowlandsdeforestation, soil erosion, reduced soil fertility
NepalWet-dry/tropics-temperatedeforestation, soil erosion
NigeriaWet-dry (sub-humid)/humidsoil erosion & surface sealing
PeruHumid tropical rainforestsloss of biodiversity, deforestation, soil erosion compaction and reduced prod.
SpainSemi-arid Mediterraneandeforestation, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion
SwitzerlandMid altitude highlandstemperate loss of biodiversity, water pollution from animal wastes
TanzaniaHighlandsreduced soil fertility, soil erosion
TanzaniaTropical humid, sub-humid semi-ariddeforest., soil erosion, reduced fertility, bush fires, loss of biodiv., pollution
TunisiaCoastal and semi-ariddeforestation, soil erosion, reduced soil fertility
UruguaySub-humid temperatesoil erosion
USAArid-temperate, high desertloss biodiv, alt. climax, erosion, accelerated runoff, groundwater depletion, greenhouse gases
USATemperatewater pollution from animal waste, to a minor extent, soil erosion
VenezuelaDry tropics-savannasdeforestation, burning, soil compaction & reduced fertility
West AfricaWet-dry, coastal tropicsdegradation, poverty, malnutrition, social conflicts; deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity
Table I-3: Case-studies on industrial systems
CanadaTemperateair & groundwater pollution from livestock waste, reduced soil fertility
Dominican RepublicTropicswater and air pollution from animal wastes
Greecesemi-arid, coastal, Mediterraneanloss of biodiversity, soil erosion, water pollution from animal wastes, unpleasant odours
NetherlandsTemperateloss of biodiversity, water pollution
PakistanArid semi-ariddrinking water & air pollution, human health, loss of buffalo germ plasm
USAHumid continentalwater pollution from animal wastes
WorldAll eco-zoneseutrophication, fossil energy consump, loss of biodiversity, components of food/feed, processing wastes

II. Guidelines for the local consultations

a) What is the local consultation?

The local consultation is a component of the global conference on livestock and the environment, aimed at obtaining the views and perceptions of stakeholders from developing countries who might not have access to electronic mail. A stakeholder is any individual or group in society that has an interest, dependency, relationship or responsibility on livestock production and consumption, and natural resources management. By this definition, stakeholders include livestock farmers, consumers, livestock researchers, agricultural development agents, natural resources managers, agricultural economists, extension agents, environmental advocates, and policy makers.

b) Who should be included in the local consultation?

In order to obtain a fairly representative set of opinions and perceptions from stakeholders, a fair sample of each kind of stakeholders should be included in the local consultation. Particular attention should be paid to the participation of farmers and producers as their number and diversity are larger than those of other stakeholders. Including grassroots farmers groups representatives (cooperatives, local and national farmers associations) rather than individuals will be appropriate. Where consumers and environmental advocates are concerned, particular attention should be paid to local NGOs. Researchers and policy makers generally pertain to government institutions such as NARS, Universities, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Planning Ministry.

c) Activities to be conducted by the local convenor

There are two activities to be conducted by the local convenor. One is a series of interviews and the other is a round-table. The interviews to different stakeholders should be conducted during the first two weeks of the electronic conference which will start on March 10. The interviews can be conducted individually or in small groups of one particular type of stakeholders. Questions to be asked during the interviews are given below. The round-table should be convened during the 9th or the 10th week of the electronic conference which will last for 12 weeks. Expected participants in the round-table are representatives of each type of stakeholder. The round-tables should include no more than 20 participants. The aim of the round table is to examine the particular views of different types of stakeholders concerning the issues being discussed in the electronic conference and to reach some conclusions. These issues, which are the basis of the questions asked during the interviews are described below. Following each one of the activities (the interviews and the round table), the convenor has to produce a summary of the results and conclusions and input these summaries into the global electronic conference. Thus, the local convenor has to subscribe to the electronic conference as any other individual participants. Instructions for subscribing to the electronic conference are provided below.

In organising the interviews and the round-table, the local convenor should identify and contact relevant participants.

d) Questions to be asked and discussed during the interviews, round-tables and the electronic conference

There is a set of three main issues (state of natural resources; driving forces for livestock-environment interactions; and responses of society), for the global discussion. Each one of this issues poses a number of specific questions to be asked and discussed during the interviews, round tables and the electronic conference. As for the interviews and round tables, the aim is to obtain qualified opinions and perceptions from stakeholders.

The issues and questions to be asked and discussed are:

1.What are the most important national problems related to livestock production and natural resources enhancement and degradation: nutrient cycling and soil improvement, biodiversity enhancement, savings of fossil fuels, deforestation, soil degradation (erosion, compaction), biodiversity loss, involution (reduced soil fertility due to negative nutrient balance) of mixed systems, or/and animal-waste contamination?
2.What is the state or condition of natural resources (soil, water, vegetation, air and biodiversity) and what are the most important recent trends in your local area?
2.1.What indicators do you use for monitoring these changes in the state of the above mentioned natural resources?
3.What are the driving forces and pressures (e.g., incentives, land tenure or institutional policies, human population pressure, consumption patterns, climate, human values, and technologies) leading to the identified problems?
3.1.What are the driving forces in your area which define the effects of livestock on the natural resource base? Do you have information to quantify that causal relationship?
3.2.What are the most critical livestock-environmental interactions; positive and negative?
3.3.How do land tenure, prices of inputs and outputs, institutions and regulations or any other policies affect these effects on the resource base?
3.4.What effects on the local environment are due to factors in other environments?
4.What are the bio-physical and socio-economic impacts of livestock systems (grazing, mixed, and industrial or land-detached systems) in your particular ecoregion?
4.1.What is the value placed by the local community on different livestock outputs and services such as meat, milk, fertilizer, animal traction, social prestige and assets building?
4.2.Does the local community believe that livestock provides the social, economic and financial benefits expected of them and if so, are they better or worse than in the past?
5.What are the responses of stakeholders and society at large to environmental changes?
5.1.What are the farmers' time horizons and goals and how are they responding to pressures on the environment?
5.2.What are the responses of farmers and other stakeholders on the trends in the state of the natural resource base? What technologies are being used which can mitigate the negative effects and which enhance the positive effects of livestock on natural resources?
5.3.What policies and regulations are used to promote the above mentioned technologies and what is the effect of those policies?
5.4.Are environmental issues considered in policy formulation?
5.5.How important are other groups in defining the policies affecting livestock-environment interactions. Who are they? How constructive are those interventions?
5.6.What are the policy linkages with population pressure?
6.What is the effect of those responses on the rate and direction of environmental change and human needs satisfaction?
6.1.What are the current policy issues related to the pressures?
7.How do you see demand trends for livestock products in your country (internal consumption and export) and which production system would you say has the largest potential to satisfy any increase?
8.What should we do and what can be done (research priorities, policies, development programs, production systems to be encouraged and discouraged) in order to balance livestock, environment, and human needs in your local area?

The above questions and the corresponding discussions to be held during the global consultation follow the conceptual analytical framework of Pressure-State-Response (PSR) which is based on the environmental model developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This conceptual framework helps to identify and understand the forces, processes, effects, and societal responses involved in livestock and environment interactions.

III. Preparatory meeting

A preparatory meeting was held at ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 21 – 24th January, 1997. The objective of the meeting was to prepare for the Electronic Conference and local Consultations on Livestock, the Environment and Human Needs.

The meeting was attended by Hugo Li-Pun (Chairperson), ILRI-Eth; Ralph von Kaufmann, ILRI-Eth, Don Peden, IDRC, Victor Mares (Consultant), IICA; Henning Steinfeld, FAO; Robert Hart, INFORUM; Mohamed Saleem, ILRI-Eth; Simeon Ehui, ILRI-Eth; Paschal Osuji ILRI-Eth; Eddie Mukasa, (ILRI-Eth); Mamadou Diedhiou, ILRI-Eth; and Emmanuel Mwendera (Rapporteur), ILRI-Eth.

IV. Conference organizing committee

The committee responsible for organizing the electronic conference was formed at the preparatory meeting. The committee was to take responsibility for the following five functions:

a. Computer Hardware and Software Management:
Lead : Robert Hart, INFORUM;
Others : John Rowell, FAO; and Mamadou Diedhiou, ILRI

b. Information Management
Lead : Victor Mares, IICA
Others : Takuo, FAO; and Emmanuel Mwendera, ILRI.

c. People Management (Facilitator)
Lead : Robert Hart, INFORUM;
Others : Victor Mares, IICA

d. Subject Matter Management
Lead : Victor Mares, IICA;
Others : Henning Steinfeld, FAO; Emmanuel Mwendera, ILRI; Cees de Haan, World
Bank; and Manuel Ruiz, IICA.

e. Overall Conference Coordination
Lead : Hugo Li Pun, ILRI-Eth;
Others : Robert Hart, INFORUM; Victor Mares, IICA.

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