Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Grasslands hold potential for increased food production

11.01.2017

Managing grazing on grasslands in a more efficient way could significantly increase global milk and meat production or free up land for other uses.

About 40% of natural grasslands worldwide have potential to support increased livestock grazing, according to a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology. This translates to a potential increase of 5% in milk production and 4% in meat production compared to the year 2000 or allow for 2.8 million square kilometers of grassland area to be released from production.


Grazing yaks

© Dmitry Pichugin | Dreamstime.com

In order to feed the world’s growing population, global food production will need to increase—but at the same time food production systems have impacts on the environment and climate.

Livestock products, including meat and milk, are a major food source for millions of people, and demand for these products is increasing. However, livestock and conversion of land for increased livestock production can lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions or soil erosion through overgrazing.

“Grasslands are generally regarded to play an important role in increasing food production to meet future food demand,” says Tamara Fetzel, a researcher at the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna (Alpen Adria University), who led the study as part of her participation in the 2015 Young Scientists Summer Program at IIASA. “But to achieve this target in a sustainable manner, our study suggests that we should focus on making more efficient use of currently available land resources, instead of converting land from other uses.”

How much livestock grasslands can support depends on a number of variables including climatic, biological, and socio-economic factors such as management, storage systems, and biomass conservation. In the new study, the researchers explored the impact of seasonal patterns of biomass supply on the potential dynamics of grass-based livestock systems, at a global scale.

Fetzel and colleagues identified areas where additional biomass could potentially be extracted from the landscape, by comparing the current level of grazing intensity to the maximum levels supported in periods of minimum biomass supply, such as winter or dry periods.

The authors also discuss numerous socioeconomic and ecological constraints related to unlocking this potential, such as a lack of infrastructure, market access, knowledge, finance, and labor constraints or the impacts of droughts, and potential negative trade-offs such as loss of biodiversity or soil degradation.

“Grassland productivity and intensification potential are some of the most uncertain parameters in global land-use assessments and are often used to estimate ambitious GHG mitigation targets. Making estimates of potential maximum grazing intensity more realistic by considering seasonal constraints reveals a certain potential to increase grazing intensity in some places, yet shows that the actual grassland area available for other purposes remains limited,” says IIASA researcher Petr Havlík, a study coauthor who advised Tamara Fetzel during the YSSP together with Karl-Heinz Erb from the Institute of Social Ecology Vienna .

Reference
Fetzel T, Havlik P, Herrero M, Erb K-H (2016). Seasonality constraints to livestock grazing intensity. Global Change Biology http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13591/full

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/170111-grasslands.html

Katherine Leitzell | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>