Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Grazing and grassland

Photo © Dave Smith via Flickr
24 March 2017

This research article provides a new quantitative analysis of data on global feed use and feed use efficiency by livestock, in order to help shed light on livestock’s role in food security.

24 March 2017

The authors of this paper compare the impact of intensification in the beef and dairy sectors via two pathways; either intensification within a system (e.g. a mixed crop-livestock system) or through transitioning to another more productive system (from pasture to mixed crop-livestock production) and assesses the mitigation potential that could arise.   It reviews the impacts of these forms of intensification on both GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change (LUC), the last of which has often been excluded in other similar analyses.  

10 January 2017

The FCRN’s Tara Garnett gave a short presentation at an event held in November by the Sustainable Food Trust. The question posed was ‘Do livestock hold the key to a healthy planet and population?’ 

18 October 2016

This report by Zero Carbon Australia, outlines how research on greenhouse gas emissions from land use (agriculture and forestry) can be reduced to zero net emissions, coupled with economic opportunities and increased resilience in the face of climate change. The land use sector is the second largest source of emissions in Australia and is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. 15% of total emissions in Australia are from the agriculture and forestry sectors, the largest component of which is land clearing for grazing.

18 October 2016

This paper presents the results of a modelling exercise that aimed to identify low emissions pathways for a growing global livestock sector. This article uses 6 case studies, modelled in the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model developed by FAO, to illustrate the climate change mitigation potential of livestock achievable through changes in feeding, breeding and husbandry as well as grazing management to increase soil carbon sequestration.

Photo: Joshua Rappeneker, Beef, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

An academic debate on the controversial possibility of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions via increased beef production in the Brazilian Cerrado finds a new set of commentators, who have responded to an original paper by de Oliveira Silva et al. earlier in 2016 in the same journal, Nature Climate Change.

Photo: South African Tourism, Northern Cape, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

Recent assessments have strongly suggested that meeting the widely agreed target of limiting global warming to less than 2°C will require the deployment of substantial carbon sinks in addition to measures to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This perspective article examines the latest research and thinking on the ability of agricultural soil management to reduce GHG emissions and promote soils as carbon sinks, and the practical feasibility of implementing available soil management practices

Photo: Flickr, Juan Salmoral, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

In a 2013 TED talk entitled ‘How to fight desertification and reverse climate change’ the Zimbabwean ecologist, Allan Savory, claimed that the ‘holistic management’ grazing management method that he has developed and promoted over 40 years, could stop global desertification and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to preindustrial levels, within a few decades.

Photo: KeWynn Lee, Before, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2016


This review article provides a summary of the multiple environmental and societal costs and benefits of livestock production. Homing in on climate change, it reviews the range of GHG mitigation options that have been proposed both on the supply side (actions that potentially reduce emissions per unit of production, or absolute emissions, considering both changes in practice and in policy) and those on the demand side (e.g. reductions in meat consumption, waste reduction).

Photo: Holistic Management, Mob grazing, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2016

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.

Photo: Secret Pilgrim, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
31 August 2016

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.

Image: US Department of Agriculture Cropland Data Layer, Flickr
31 August 2016

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.

Photo: Moyan Brenn, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0)
8 July 2016

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.

28 June 2016

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.

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