Global livestock systems dataset

The livestock sector is central to many socioeconomic and environmental global challenges. Insufficient attention has been paid to the generation of livestock data at the level of detail required for elucidating their future role in attaining key global sustainability goals. Some of these goals are poverty reduction, food and nutritional security, and adaptation to climate change.

We present, in research by Herrero et al. (2013), a unique, biologically consistent, spatially disaggregated global livestock dataset containing information on biomass use, production, feed efficiency (see figure), excretion, and greenhouse gas emissions for 28 regions, 8 livestock production systems, 4 animal species (cattle, small ruminants, pigs, and poultry), and 3 livestock products (milk, meat, and eggs). The dataset contains over 50 new global maps containing high-resolution information for understanding the multiple roles (biophysical, economic, social) that livestock can play in different parts of the world. The dataset highlights: (i) feed efficiency as a key driver of productivity, resource use, and greenhouse gas emission intensities, with vast differences between production systems and animal products; (ii) the importance of grasslands as a global resource, supplying almost 50% of biomass for animals while continuing to be at the epicentre of land conversion processes; and (iii) the importance of mixed crop–livestock systems, producing the greater part of animal production (over 60%) in both the developed and the developing world.

These data provide critical information for developing targeted, sustainable solutions for the livestock sector and its widely ranging contribution to the global food system.

Download data here for the global livestock dataset from Herrero et al. 2013.

Contact Mario Herrero for more information.