Showing results for: Grazing and grassland
As methane produced by ruminants is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), many researchers and organisations have pointed to the necessity of reducing ruminant stocks around the world. In this study, the authors argue that with the right crop and grazing management, ruminants might not only reduce overall GHG emissions, but could, in fact, facilitate increases in soil carbon, and reduce environmental damage related to current cropping practices.
These two studies discuss afforestation projects in relation to 1) land availability and sheep farming in Scotland, and 2) the biodiversity losses that may be associated with such projects.
Future demand for food and for land is set to grow. A key question is therefore: how can we most productively use land for food, in order balance the multiple competing demands for the ecosystem services it provides? One way this has been investigated previously is by looking at crop yields and how to increase them. Another way, focussing instead on the consumption side, has looked at the metric of dietary land footprint.
According to this UK study there is a potential for improving soil carbon assessments if inventories increasingly assess soils below the current common level of 30 cm. The researchers estimate that over double the amount of carbon is stored in all UK grassland soils when looking at a depth of 1 metre compared to estimates where only the top 30 cm of soil is considered.
This report by Friends of the Earth discusses how ecological resources essential for producing food can be protected and how we can feed a growing population by focusing on creating a more sustainable, democratic and fair food system for all.
Taking as their starting point a hypothetical zero-deforestation for agricultural production, where people would refrain from clearing any further forests for agricultural purposes, the researchers behind this study look at both supply side and demand side measures to assess how changes in production and diet can assist in halting deforestation
This new paper published in Nature Climate Change, assesses the mitigation potentials achievable through improved livestock management practices and moderating meat consumption. It estimates that livestock-oriented measures could account for up to half of the mitigation potential of the global agricultural, forestry and land-use sectors but emphasises that the gap between technical potential and social and economic feasibility is likely to be large.
In this study, researchers from the Netherlands and Italy investigate the long-term (past and future) changes in phosphorus (P) budgets in grasslands used for grazing and in connection with croplands. The authors recognise a lack in the literature of studies characterising the P cycle in relation to grasslands and croplands, and - as grass-dependent livestock demand is increasing – they seek to address this lack of understanding.
Two recent systematic literature reviews conclude that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. The team led by Newcastle University, reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat and found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat, especially in terms of fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.
This commentary published in Science Letters, discusses new data recently released by FAO’s statistical division, and makes the case that the current large-scale reversion in pasture area is opening up a potential conservation opportunity. Author and FCRN member Joseph Poore argues that as grazing of land has become more intensive globally, we are seeing ruminant outputs increasing while large agricultural areas are being abandoned, and he argues that this offers a new opportunity for land-sparing conservation.
This very useful paper focuses on Brazilian beef production in the Cerrado grasslands region of Brazil makes an important contribution to the on-going debate about the merits of different livestock production systems, and of different consumption patterns.
In this paper, researchers from universities in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, the UK and Germany investigate the potential for feeding livestock on less food-competitive feedstuffs (FCF – that is, animal feed derived from fewer human edible food sources) to reduce the negative environmental impacts of livestock farming.
In this paper, researchers from a number of UK and US research institutions explore the potential for land sparing as a greenhouse gas (GHG) offsetting strategy – that is, by increasing crop and livestock yields so as to enable agricultural land to be freed up and used for habitat restoration (for example) an enable carbon sequestration.
The Sustainable Food Trust recently held an event to discuss the question: ‘What role for grazing livestock in a world of climate change and diet-related disease?’