This primer focuses on one type of livestock-keeping: pastoralism. Pastoralism is a way of raising livestock that makes use of variable landscapes by moving animals and managing their grazing.1 It provides livelihoods for many millions of people and makes use of rangelands on every continent but Antarctica, across more than half the world’s land surface.
Extensive livestock use can enhance biodiversity and support species conservation in multiple ways. Mobile pastoral systems can create bio-corridors through transhumance routes and disperse seeds, enhancing biodiversity across landscapes, for example.
In recent years there have been devastating wildfires across the world. Wildfire incidence is increasing with climate change, and wildfires are predicted to increase by 50% by the end of the centuryi . Such intense, uncontrolled wildfires are massively damaging to environments and to people, involving multiple deaths – including among firefighters - and widespread destruction of property.
Debates about the role of livestock in wider landscapes have come into sharp focus around the idea of ‘rewilding’, linked to plans for ‘ecosystem restoration’. Rewilding Britain defines rewilding as “the large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself.
Pastoralists and other livestock keepers are too often pitted against conservationists. Parks are sometimes created to keep livestock and people out, and there are frequent stories in the media about pastoralists invading conservation areas during drought, sometimes resulting in conflict and violence.
Livestock can be good for the environment. It depends on which livestock, where. Pastoralism – the system of often mobile, extensive livestock production on rangelands – can improve biodiversity, help sequester carbon and protect the environment.
Huge global targets for tree planting are being set; everyone is urged to plant a tree to save the planet.
Pourtant, ces élevages ont été longtemps en marge des efforts d’investissement en agriculture. Ils disposent cependant d’atouts indéniables pour répondre à ces ODD en interaction avec d’autres formes d’élevage présentes dans les territoires. Mais ils font face aussi à un ensemble de contraintes qui remettent en question leur pérennité.
The relationship between livestock production and climate change is the subject of hot debate, with arguments for major shifts in diets and a reduction in livestockproduction. This Perspective examines how global assessments of livestock-derived methane emissions are framed, identifying assumptions and data gaps that influence standard life-cycle analysis approaches.