Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Climate-smart livestock production

Production and Resources


This module assesses the role of livestock in climate-smart agriculture. Specifically, chapter B2-1 assesses the impact of climate change on livestock and identifies adaptation and mitigation opportunities and needs. It also presents an overview of emissions caused by livestock. Chapter B2-2 outlines the principles of climate-smart livestock, focusing on increased efficiency of resource use and building resilience. Adopting a farming system perspective, Chapter B2-3 gives insights into main strategies for achieving climate-smart livestock, and specific practices suitable for the dominant livestock production systems. Chapter B2-4 discusses the enabling environment for climate-smart livestock production.

Key messages

  • Livestock accounts for 17 percent of the global calorie intake and 33 percent of the protein intake. Livestock production produces 14.5 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The sector can make a large contribution to climate-smart food systems.
  • Livestock’s role in adaptation practices relates primarily to the management of organic matter and nutrients, and the diversification of incomes.
  • Mitigation options are available along the entire livestock supply chain. They are mostly associated with feed  production, enteric fermentation and manure management.
  • Several climate-smart agriculture practices are readily available for implementation. These practices include grassland restoration and management (e.g. sylvopastoral systems), manure management (e.g. recycling and biodigestion) and crop-livestock integration.
  • Barriers to adoption are often related to a lack of information, limited access to technology and insufficient capital. Overcoming these barriers requires specific policy interventions, as well as extension services and financing mechanisms, such as schemes for improving livestock producers' access to credit and payment for environmental services.
  • A climate-smart agriculture approach that considers the entire food supply chain is particularly important for the livestock sector, given the sector’s strong interrelationship with crop production.