Smallholder farming is the most prevalent form of agriculture in the world, supports many of the planet’s most vulnerable populations, and coexists with some of its most diverse and threatened landscapes. However, there is little information about the location of small farms, making it difficult both to estimate their numbers and to implement effective agricultural, development, and land use policies.

Mixed crop–livestock systems are the backbone of African agriculture, providing food security and livelihood options for hundreds of millions of people. Much is known about the impacts of climate change on the crop enterprises in the mixed systems, and some, although less, on the livestock enterprises. The interactions between crops and livestock can be managed to contribute to environmentally sustainable intensification, diversification and risk management. There is relatively little information on how these interactions may be affected by changes in climate and climate variability.

The focus of the great majority of climate change impact studies is on changes in mean climate. In terms of climate model output, these changes are more robust than changes in climate variability. By concentrating on changes in climate means, the full impacts of climate change on biological and human systems are probably being seriously underestimated. Here, we briefly review the possible impacts of changes in climate variability and the frequency of extreme events on biological and food systems, with a focus on the developing world.

This report is unique in presenting a high-resolution dataset of biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions by global livestock. This information will allow the global-change research community in enhancing our understanding of the sustainability of livestock systems and their role in food security, livelihoods and environmental sustainability.

Original Source

New agricultural development pathways are required to meet climate change adaptation and mitigation needs in the food systems of low-income countries. A research and policy agenda is provided to indicate where innovation and new knowledge are needed.

We estimate the potential reductions in methane and carbon dioxide emissions from several livestock and pasture management options in the mixed and rangeland-based production systems in the tropics.