Special Issue "Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 5780

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Didier Genin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRD, Laboratoire Population Environnement Développement, Marseille, France
Interests: livestock systems; pastoral practices; family strategies; socio-ecological systems; rural societies-environment interactions; arid zones; desertification; mountains; rangelands

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Livestock systems have a dual reputation. On the one hand, they are considered to be aggravating factors in current changes, particularly with regard to climate change with greenhouse gas emissions and water and soil pollution by livestock manure. They are also sometimes presented as the main cause of deforestation in certain regions or as a source of biodiversity loss at the global level. On the other hand, livestock farming systems, especially extensive farming systems, are sometimes considered as tools for managing anthropized ecosystems, making it possible to conserve open environments and their associated biodiversity. They can provide ecosystem services such as fighting forest fires or protecting endangered species, and furnishing quality food.

However, livestock farming systems throughout the world are the lifeblood of millions of people and constitute an important heritage of knowledge and know-how in the exploitation and management of natural resources, which can provide a wealth of information for considering more sustainable forms of natural resource management.

This Special Issue aims to synthesize knowledge on traditional and innovative forms of natural resource management within livestock systems from a resilience and sustainability perspective. In particular, contributions are expected on the following topics:

• People-livestock-natural resource relationships from a sustainability perspective
• Experiences of successful technical itineraries for the management of natural resources through livestock farming
• the provision of ecosystem services provided by livestock farming
• the emergence of new risks related to livestock farming in the context of current global changes
• Cross reflections on the places and roles of livestock systems in shaping sustainable food systems and the implementation of environmental transitions in natural resource management.


Dr. Didier Genin
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Forage Plantation Program between Desertification Mitigation and Livestock Feeding: An Economic Analysis
Land 2022, 11(6), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11060948 - 20 Jun 2022
Viewed by 473
Abstract
To combat desertification and land degradation in arid and semi-arid zones, the government has adopted an approach of rehabilitation of pasturelands through forage plantations. This program was launched at the beginning of the 1990s and, to date, there has been no global or [...] Read more.
To combat desertification and land degradation in arid and semi-arid zones, the government has adopted an approach of rehabilitation of pasturelands through forage plantations. This program was launched at the beginning of the 1990s and, to date, there has been no global or national study on the sustainability of the program, particularly its economic profitability. Our work’s principal objective was to perform an economic analysis of the forage plantation program across the different periods since the creation of the program until the year 2020, focusing on the economic evaluation parameters of the projects, such as mean annual net income, net present value, annuity of the net present value, profitability index and payback period, based on the data collected from the official institutions. The results showed that the forage plantation program significantly contributes to sustainable development in steppe areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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Article
Performance Analysis of Dairy Farms Transitioning to Environmentally Friendly Grazing Practices: The Case Study of Santa Catarina, Brazil
Land 2022, 11(2), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020294 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 471
Abstract
The conflict between food production and environmental conservation demands alternative agriculture practices to maintain or increase food production, protect and restore critical ecosystem processes, and reduce dependence on non-renewable agricultural inputs. Deforestation in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, for which agriculture has been a primary [...] Read more.
The conflict between food production and environmental conservation demands alternative agriculture practices to maintain or increase food production, protect and restore critical ecosystem processes, and reduce dependence on non-renewable agricultural inputs. Deforestation in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, for which agriculture has been a primary driver, already threatens the biome’s impressive biodiversity and the ecosystem services it helps sustain. Many small family farmers in Santa Catarina—located in the South of Brazil—have adopted the Voisin Rational Grazing System (VRG) as an alternative to conventional and environmentally detrimental dairy activities. This article presents the results of a research project designed to analyze the economic, social, and ecological VRG impacts based on farmers’ perceptions and economic accounts. We compare farmer profitability and critical social and environmental aspects of both systems using detailed interviews and monthly accounting of revenues and expenditures on VRG and conventional farms. We found that VRG is more profitable than the conventional dairy system in Santa Rosa de Lima. However, most farmers combine VRG with some conventional practices, affecting profitability and potential ecological benefits. The adoption of VRG in Santa Rosa de Lima nonetheless correlates with reduced use of environmentally harmful inputs, compatible with a gradual transition to a more ecologically-friendly and sustainable system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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Article
Factors Influencing Grazing Behavior by Using the Consciousness-Context-Behavior Theory—A Case Study from Yanchi County, China
Land 2021, 10(11), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111157 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 585
Abstract
Grazing behavior is a key factor that affects the sustainable development of the grassland social-ecological system. Grazing behavior is not only restricted by policies but also affected by the awareness of the herder of the grassland environment. To explore the influencing factors and [...] Read more.
Grazing behavior is a key factor that affects the sustainable development of the grassland social-ecological system. Grazing behavior is not only restricted by policies but also affected by the awareness of the herder of the grassland environment. To explore the influencing factors and mechanism behind grazing behavior, Yanchi County of Ningxia, a typical area of the “returning grazing land to grassland” project in Northwest China, was selected as a study area. Based on the consciousness-context-behavior theory, a questionnaire was designed, and 305 households were surveyed. Analysis of structural equation model results show: (1) the environmental sensitivity of herders and their satisfaction with the compensation mechanism regulated grazing behavior. When herders were more dependent on grassland, they were more willing to graze. (2) The grassland dependence, environmental sensitivity of herders, and herders’ satisfaction with the compensation mechanism had a significant interaction effect on grazing behavior. (3) Family livelihood diversification and the number of young and middle-aged laborers had a significant moderating effect on grassland dependence and grazing behavior. These findings are of vital importance for the government to formulate policies to promote the sustainable development of grasslands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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Article
Does Livelihood Capital Influence the Livelihood Strategy of Herdsmen? Evidence from Western China
Land 2021, 10(7), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070763 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 852
Abstract
The deterioration of grassland ecology is threatening the livelihood of herdsmen and increasing their rates of poverty. This study aims to explore the characteristics of herdsmen’s livelihood and the impact of livelihood capital and environmental perception on livelihood strategy selection. Based on 453 [...] Read more.
The deterioration of grassland ecology is threatening the livelihood of herdsmen and increasing their rates of poverty. This study aims to explore the characteristics of herdsmen’s livelihood and the impact of livelihood capital and environmental perception on livelihood strategy selection. Based on 453 herdsmen households in the Province of Gansu and Qinghai, five types of livelihood capital were measured under the sustainable livelihoods framework. The influence of herdsmen’s livelihood capital on their decisions regarding their livelihood strategies was evaluated in multiple logistic functions. Meanwhile, hierarchical regression analysis and grouping regression methods were used to explore the moderating effects of two dimensions of environmental perception: ecological consciousness and sense of responsibility. The following results were obtained: First, all types of livelihood capital have a significant influence on the livelihood diversification of herdsmen; second, the direction and strength of these effects differ among types of livelihood capital. Moreover, environmental perception played a negative moderating role in the relationship between herdsmen’s livelihood capital and livelihood strategies. Therefore, it is expected to introduce policies ensuring the development of herdsmen’s livelihood capital and improve their environmental cognition, which can help realize the coordinated economic and ecological development of grassland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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Article
Farmers’ and Herders’ Perceptions on Rangeland Management in Two Agroecological Zones of Benin
Land 2021, 10(4), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040425 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
The sustainable use of rangelands in pastoral areas requires the inclusion of all stakeholders to develop sound management strategies. However, the role of these actors in the sustainable management of natural resources is still poorly understood. The present study aims to (i) assess [...] Read more.
The sustainable use of rangelands in pastoral areas requires the inclusion of all stakeholders to develop sound management strategies. However, the role of these actors in the sustainable management of natural resources is still poorly understood. The present study aims to (i) assess the perception of farmers and herders of the risks and opportunities of transhumance on rangeland resource use and management, and to (ii) generate useful knowledge for the design and implementation of policies that favor the coexistence of these actors and reduce competition over rangeland resources use in Benin. To this end, interviews were conducted with 240 crop farmers and herders using a semi-structured questionnaire in two contrasting agroecological zones in the northern (Kandi) and the southern (Kétou) part of the country. Among the respondents, 64% of farmers in the North were agro-pastoralists (owning 10.6 ha of land and 10.7 cattle) and 36% were herders (keeping 45.8 cattle and cultivating about 3.7 ha of land). They perceived that communal rangelands were entirely degraded. In the South, 36% of respondents were agro-pastoralists (with 0.3 cattle and farming 4 ha of land) and 64% cattle herders (raising 45.3 cattle and farming 0.9 ha of land only). Of the herders, 50% kept cattle for more than 20 years, while agro-pastoralists had no previous experience in cattle herding. Cultivation practices among crop farmers, such as high use of mineral fertilization (23.8%) and bush fires for land clearing (22.5%), were reported in Kandi (North) and Kétou (South) as factors that might contribute to land degradation. However, these farmers perceived transhumance as a threat to the sustainable use of natural resources. In contrast, herders perceived transhumance as an opportunity to valorize unused land and increase the availability of manure to cropland. The prevalent negative attitude of crop farmers regarding transhumant herders increases the vulnerability of cattle herding in both regions. There is an urgent need of raising awareness concerning the mutual benefits provided by the coexistence of crop farmers with herders to promote participative rangeland management strategies. This may contribute towards coping with the current challenges of food insecurity and increasing climate variability as well as to reducing recurrent conflicts in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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Article
The Importance of Network Position in the Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Smallholders of Dual-Purpose Cattle in Mexico
Land 2021, 10(4), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040401 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 799
Abstract
The dual-purpose bovine production system (DP) is the most widespread small-scale model in Latin American tropics, where it constitutes a key tool in terms of food security. Most DPs are subsistence farms oriented to self-consumption, with a very low technology adoption rate. Hence, [...] Read more.
The dual-purpose bovine production system (DP) is the most widespread small-scale model in Latin American tropics, where it constitutes a key tool in terms of food security. Most DPs are subsistence farms oriented to self-consumption, with a very low technology adoption rate. Hence, the main challenge is how to improve the technological level without compromising the system sustainability by applying land-sharing practices. Thus, through networks methodology, this paper analysed how farmers adopt reproductive technologies. The sample consisted of 383 very small farms of dual-purpose cattle. Seven reproduction technologies oriented to improve reproductive efficiency were evaluated: Breeding soundness evaluation in bulls, semen fertility evaluation, evaluation of female body condition, oestrus detection, pregnancy diagnosis, seasonal or continuous mating, and breeding policy. Social Network Analysis (SNA) allowed identifying adoption patterns, as the joint adoption of semen fertility evaluation, estrus detection, and pregnancy diagnosis, which were consider complementary technologies. Similarly, breeding soundness evaluation in bulls was found to be the most widely adopted technology. The results showed that these farmers presented a very low level of reproduction technology adoption rate and suggested that farmer’s affiliation with organizations such as the Livestock Groups for Technological Validation and Transfer (GGAVATT), and its network position had a significant impact on the level of technological adoption. In the first stage of adoption, this work highlighted the importance of centralized models from the GGAVATT to the farmers, related to the knowledge and absorption dynamic capabilities. In a later stage, decentralized models through technological leaders are a priority, related to integration and innovation dynamic capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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Review

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Review
Goat Breeding: A Possible Sustainable Way to Manage Xerophytic Thickets in Southwestern Madagascar
Land 2022, 11(3), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11030405 - 10 Mar 2022
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Spiny thickets or xerophytic thickets (XTs) are a type of shrubby vegetation found in the far south and southwest of Madagascar, the driest parts of the island. This type of vegetation, which is rich in endemic animal and plant species, is endangered. Extensive [...] Read more.
Spiny thickets or xerophytic thickets (XTs) are a type of shrubby vegetation found in the far south and southwest of Madagascar, the driest parts of the island. This type of vegetation, which is rich in endemic animal and plant species, is endangered. Extensive local goat breeding (Capra hircus, for meat and milk production) based on XT browsing is an important source of household income. The aim of this paper is to analyse the possibility of using improved goat breeding as an alternative to wood charcoal (WC) production and slash-and-burn agriculture (SBA), which are unsustainable activities. The literature on (i) the impacts of SBA, WC production, and goat browsing on the XT ecosystem and (ii) the income provided by these three activities is reviewed to determine the sustainability level of improved goat husbandry. SBA and WC production reduced XT biomass and XT cover area, while goat browsing alone, at a stocking rate of one head per hectare, did not affect XT leaf biomass production and shrub regeneration. Furthermore, batch breeding and flushing techniques provided the highest annual income, mainly from the sale of surplus animal products. This improved goat husbandry may be a sustainable alternative to WC production. However, increasing the current stocking rate is necessary to surpass the combined income of WC production and SBA. An estimation of the XT carrying capacity would offer a basis to assess whether this ecosystem would support a higher stocking rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Livestock System)
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