Livestock, livelihoods and the environment: understanding the trade-offs
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Livestock are a global resource of significant benefits to society in the form of food, income, nutrients, employment, insurance, traction, clothing and others. In the process of providing these benefits, livestock can use a significant amount of land, nutrients, feed, water and other resources and generate 18% of anthropogenic global greenhouse gases. The total demand for livestock products might almost double by 2050, mostly in the developing world owing to increases in population density, urbanization and increased incomes. Multiple existing trade-offs and competing demands for natural resources will intensify, but reducing livestock product demand in places and capitalizing on the positive aspects of livestock systems such as the potential for sustainable intensification of mixed systems, the potential of ecosystems services payments in rangeland systems and well-regulated industrial livestock production might help achieve the goals of balancing livestock production, livelihoods and environmental protection.
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