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Library Livestock geography and land use

Livestock geography and land use

Livestock geography and land use

Resource information

Date of publication
December 1969
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Whilst still in its infancy, the development of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) tools is paving the way for global land use monitoring. This paper provides a first, tentative description of livestock related land use.

Preliminary results indicate that, in most of the developing world, the distributions of man and his livestock are closely related. This association is particularly prominent in India for large ruminants, and in South East Asia for pigs and poultry. For example, it is estimated that in China some 95 percent of the human population is concentrated in 50 percent of the land area, the humid plus subhumid ecozones. Here, the average density of 260 persons per square km coincides with a livestock biomass of approximately 25 metric tonnes, out of which 36 percent, or 9 metric tonnes, is made up of live weight pigs plus poultry. The densely populated, higher rainfall areas of China thus form the global epicentre of monogastric animals. It is in these areas also, that the highest animal protein production increase occurs. These local developments strongly affect the global statistics on animal agriculture; it is estimated that in the year 2010 poultry meat and pork will constitute about 70 percent of the developing world's total meat production.

With the progressive prominence of so-called land-detached, monogastric animal protein production in peri-urban environments in South East Asia, the question arises how to accommodate this development within the global agricultural landscape. While crop productivity gains may assist in overcoming the increased demand for cereals for livestock feed, the dynamic global animal production and associated change in land utilisation pattern interferes with a whole series of complex development issues, including poverty, environmental safety and emerging diseases' risk.

The progressive aggregation of people, crops and livestock in the developing countries requires clarification in order to come to grips with the complexity of interactions among economic, social and ecological processes. GIS and RS provide the tools for such undertaking.

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