Klimaat en veehouderij (NL)


Update content

Title Klimaat en veehouderij (NL)
Period 01 / 2011 - 12 / 2011
Status Completed
Research number OND1345935


The livestock production sector needs to be equipped for climate change in order to be competitive in the coming decades. This requires a mix of both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Achievement of the complex task of effectively integrating mitigation and adaptation is a significant challenge for the scientific community. However achievement of this task is needed in order to effectively contribute to a viable livestock production sector. Livestock production and grasslands are inseparable. Grasslands are the major feed source of cattle and occupy a vast area of land in the Netherlands and in the world. Therefore scientific expertise of both plant production and animal production should be combined to obtain a sustainable and competitive livestock production. Furthermore, this issue should be addressed internationally.

According to lifecycle analyses, the global livestock sector generates directly or indirectly 18 % of global greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents (Livestock s Long Shadow, FAO, 2006). Mitigation options are needed. Grasslands cover about 50% of the European farmed landscape and are an essential element of sustainable farming systems, animal welfare, forage and grazing, soil quality and optimum use of (low productive) agricultural land. In addition grasslands play an essential role in the environment and rural development: e.g. via carbon sequestration in soils, open landscapes and biodiversity. They are not always sinks for CO2 but can be sources of greenhouse gas emissions especially in intensively managed livestock systems. All these different stakes need to be addressed in a coherent way. This project will provide tools incorporating emissions and socio-economic variables, which will be useful for governments, industry and the agricultural sector (farmers). In this way the project will contribute to a competitive and sustainable livestock production.

Aim of the project
A consistent framework will be developed that can be used to predict effects of livestock systems on emissions of greenhouse gases in coherence with other environmental variables and (socio)economical drivers. Special attention is paid to grasslands since grasslands, the main feed for cattle, is a major land use area in Europe. Coupled biophysical and socio-economic models at the animal, field, farm and landscape level will be used to evaluate innovations and technologies to increase sustainability and competitiveness of livestock production systems .

This project is carried out in close cooperation with two EU-funded projects: AnimalChange (AN Integration of Mitigation and Adaptation options for sustainable Livestock production under climate CHANGE, 2011-2015, EU-contribution of 800.000 for Wageningen UR) and MultiSward (Multi-species swards and multi scale strategies for multifunctional grassland-base ruminant production systems, 2010-2014, EU-contribution of 200.000 for Wageningen UR). Research (literature, inventories, modelling) is carried out at the animal level, the field level, the farm level and the landscape level.
Main responsibilities of Wageningen UR in AnimalChange (i.e. Wageningen UR is task leader and/or WP leader) are:
Storylines and scenarios for development of livestock production 2010 2050 for EU27 and Africa and South America and emission profiles at national levels (i.e. the storylines and scenarios are not climate storylines and scenarios but storylines and scenarios about livestock production)
Reducing key uncertainties in GHG emissions from the livestock sector Analyses of the livestock production chain at regional scales.
Gathering of site-specific information and assessment of mitigation and adaptation options for a range of systems and regions Integrating mitigation and adaptation options in intensive ruminant production systems by process based modelling
Analysis of technical trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation at regional scale

Main responsibilities of Wageningen UR in MultiSward (i.e. Wageningen UR is task leader and/or WP leader) are:
Evaluation of new innovations and technologies to increase sustainability and competitiveness of grassland-based systems Determination of stakeholders expectations towards multi-functionality of grasslands

The project will provide scientific guidance on the integration of adaptation and mitigation objectives and design sustainable development pathways for livestock production in Europe, in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Potential synergies between policies, sustainable development and improvement of environmental quality will be explored to develop a mitigation potential in the livestock sector across Europe, Africa and South America. Special attention will be paid to grasslands. There will be a wide range of livestock production systems included in the project, ranging from extensive systems in mountain and dry areas to intensive dairy, pig and poultry production systems in lowland areas. Scenarios on food demand and livestock production technologies and land use and impact assessments will be provided from process-based models calibrated at a range of experimental benchmark sites at scales ranging from the animal and the pasture, to the farm and to the region. Projections of future trends and impacts will be modelled taking into account socio-economic dimensions.

Wageningen UR is responsible for the following deliverables:

M12 (end 2011): Storylines for livestock sector scenarios in EU, studied SICA regions and global level, consistent with the IPCC AR5 detailed for the livestock sector

M12 (end 2011): Compiled database on characteristic livestock farms across regions studied (EU27, SICA regions)

M12: Report on appreciation of the future functions of grassland and identification of research and implementation gaps between today and future multi-functionalities by national stakeholders

M18: Report on current GHG emissions from livestock production at regional level in EU-27 and selected regions in Africa and Latin America with suggestions to improve environmental performances of selected livestock production systems and management.

M24: Report on drivers and vulnerabilities of soil C sequestration rates and on quantified uncertainties in GHG emissions including from tropical/subtropical forages production and from non-conventional housing systems

M24: First version of process based estimates of mitigation and adaptation options differentiated with respect to farming systems

M30: Report on improvements in MITERRA framework/tool and for the extension to Africa and Latin America to provide for base line emissions of GHG from livestock production and impact of mitigation measures

M30: Models capable of calculating comparable parameters of sustainability in France, Ireland and the Netherlands

M36: Second version of process based estimates of mitigation and adaptation options differentiated with respect to farming systems
M36: Synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation at the regional scale (landscape, farming system): competition for resources, potential efficiency gains, shifts in farming systems

M36: Synthesis paper on perception of European stakeholders on multifunctional grasslands

M42: Report on systems and life cycle analysis of greenhouse gases from the livestock sector at regional scale for Europe and study regions in Africa and in Latin America

M45: Report on adaptation and mitigation options in the showcase farms

M48: Report on mechanisms of trade-offs and interactions between adaptation and mitigation and between various sources and types of greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, Wageningen UR will contribute to a large number of deliverables of other partners in the consortium

Related organisations

Related people

Related research (upper level)


E17000 Greenhouse gas mitigation

Go to page top
Go back to contents
Go back to site navigation