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Knowledge assessment on the effects of climate change due to keeping livestock in urban and peri-urban areas

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Introducing the problem: climate change and livestock in urban and periurban areas

Livestock is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock sector is responsible for about 14.5% of all human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases, with the majority of these emissions coming from cattle.

The impact of livestock on climate change is not limited to greenhouse gas emissions. Land use change, for example, is a significant driver of climate change. The conversion of natural habitats to pasture and cropland to grow feed for livestock is a significant cause of deforestation, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Livestock also impacts water resources. Livestock production requires large amounts of water for drinking, irrigation of feed crops, and cleaning facilities. This places a strain on water resources, which can lead to water shortages and degradation of water quality.

The impact of livestock on climate change is an essential consideration in urban and periurban areas, where livestock are often kept near people. In these areas, livestock can impact air quality and contribute to the spread of diseases.

There are several ways to reduce the impact of livestock on climate change. One option is to change the way we produce livestock. For example, pasture-based systems require less land and water than intensive livestock operations. Another option is to change our diets and consume less meat and dairy. This would reduce the demand for livestock and, consequently, the emissions associated with livestock production.

Reducing the impact of livestock on climate change is a complex challenge requiring various solutions. However, how we produce and consume livestock products must change to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

The effects of climate change on livestock

Livestock is animals raised in agriculture to produce food, fiber, or other products. Animal health and productivity are seriously threatened by climate change. Heat stress, for example, can lead to lower milk production, reduced egg production, and reduced meat quality. 

Floods and droughts are two examples of extreme weather conditions that can harm livestock infrastructure and kill animals. In addition, climate change is expected to spread diseases and parasites that affect livestock.

The impact of climate change on livestock is likely to be most severe in developing countries, where small-scale farmers often lack the resources to cope with extreme weather events and diseases. In addition, most of the world’s livestock are located in regions particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. 

Climate change is therefore anticipated to severely affect food security and the way of life for millions of people who depend on cattle.

There are several ways to reduce the impact of climate change on livestock. For example, improving animal husbandry practices can help reduce heat stress and increase resistance to diseases. In addition, investing in early warning systems and disaster preparedness can help to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events. Finally, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to slowing the rate of climate change and its impact on livestock.

How to assess knowledge of the effects of climate change on livestock

Climate change has a profound and increasingly visible impact on the world’s weather patterns, ecosystems, and human societies. The food and agriculture sector is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as it is highly dependent on climate-sensitive natural resources such as water, land, and biodiversity.

Livestock is particularly vulnerable to climate change as they rely on natural resources and are often located in areas where climate variability and extreme weather events are likely to occur. Climate change will have several impacts on livestock, including their health, productivity, and feed and water availability.

The effects of climate change on livestock are complex and interconnected. As such, providing a comprehensive overview of all the potential impacts is difficult. However, some of the critical impacts of climate change on livestock are summarised below.

Health impacts

Climate change can impact livestock health in several ways. For example, rising temperatures can lead to increased heat stress, which can, in turn, cause several health problems, including heat exhaustion, dehydration, and reduced milk production. In addition, extreme weather events such as floods and droughts can spread disease, physical injuries, and death.

Productivity impacts

Climate change can also impact livestock productivity. For example, rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns can impact the growth and development of animals and the availability of feed and water. In addition, extreme weather events can damage infrastructure and disrupt supply chains, making transporting animals and their products to market difficult.

Availability of feed and water

Climate change will also impact the availability of feed and water for livestock. For example, changes in rainfall patterns can lead to drought, which can, in turn, impact the availability of pasture and water for animals. In addition, extreme weather events can damage infrastructure and disrupt supply chains, making transporting feed and water to livestock challenging.

Impact on livelihoods

The impacts of climate change on livestock will also significantly impact the livelihoods of those who depend on the sector for their income. For example, changes in productivity

The benefits of keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas

Livestock is vital to many small-scale farmers’ livelihoods, especially in developing countries. They provide a source of income, food, and draught power. They also offer social security, as they can be sold in need.

However, livestock can also have negative impacts on the environment. 

They are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and their grazing can lead to deforestation and soil degradation.

In urban and periurban areas, there has been an increase in the number of people who keep cattle in recent years. This is often seen as a way of reducing the negative impacts of livestock production, as the animals can be kept on smaller plots of land, and their waste can be used as fertilizer.

There are also several other benefits to keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas. These include:

Improving food security

Urban and periurban areas are often home to many people who do not have access to adequate amounts of fresh, nutritious food. Keeping livestock can help to improve food security by providing a source of fresh, nutritious milk, meat, and eggs.

Generating income

Many small-scale farmers keep livestock to generate income. The sale of milk, meat, and eggs can provide a much-needed source of income for families living in poverty.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Livestock is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in developing countries where they are often kept on small plots of land with little or no access to grazing. Keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas can help to reduce emissions by providing access to grazing land and improving animal husbandry practices.

Improving soil health

One of the main reasons for soil erosion is livestock grazing. However, keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas can help to improve soil health. This is because the animals’ waste can be used as fertilizer, and the animals themselves can help to aerate the soil.

Overall, there are several benefits to keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas.

The challenges of keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas

It is no secret that livestock farming – particularly cattle farming – can significantly impact the environment. Producing methane gas, for example, significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. In addition, clearing land for grazing and the production of feed crops can lead to deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

The challenges of keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas are, therefore, twofold: first, there is the challenge of reducing the environmental impact of livestock farming; and second, there is the challenge of ensuring that livestock farmers have access to the land and resources they need to keep their animals healthy and productive.

The first challenge – reducing the environmental impact of livestock farming – is being addressed in several ways. One is by developing more efficient and environmentally friendly methods of livestock production. This includes, for example, using more efficient feedlots and the development of alternative feeds that reduce methane emissions.

Another way of reducing the environmental impact of livestock farming is by increasing the number of animals kept in urban and periurban areas. This is because the environmental impact of livestock farming is typically much lower in these areas than in rural areas.

The second challenge – ensuring that livestock farmers have access to the land and resources they need to keep their animals healthy and productive – is more challenging. This is because, in many cases, the land and resources needed for livestock farming are in short supply.

One way to address this challenge is by increasing the land available for livestock farming. This can be done by, for example, increasing the amount of land set aside for agricultural production or making more land available for lease.

Another way of addressing this challenge is by improving the efficiency of livestock farming. This can be done by, for example, developing more efficient methods of grazing or by providing farmers with access to better-quality feed.

The challenges of keeping livestock in urban and periurban areas are therefore significant. However, they can be addressed through a combination of measures, including the development of more efficient and environmentally friendly methods of livestock production, the increase in the number of animals kept in these areas, and the

Conclusion

This study concludes that there is a lack of knowledge about the effects of climate change on livestock. More research is necessarily better to comprehend the potential impacts of climate change on cattle and develop mitigation strategies for these impacts.

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