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Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (17 February 2021) | Viewed by 39949

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Animal Production and Health Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 00153 Rome, Italy
Interests: animal genetic resources; livestock production; population genetics; agriculture development

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Guest Editor
Animal Production and Health Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 00153 Rome, Italy
Interests: animal genetic resources; livestock production; population genetics; value chains

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Animal Production and Health Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 00153 Rome, Italy
Interests: animal genetic resources; livestock production; molecular genetics; agriculture development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The multiple livestock breeds and species raised for food agriculture make an essential contribution to food security and poverty reduction worldwide. Diverse animal genetic resources provide adaptability and resilience in the face of climate change, emerging diseases, pressures on feed and water supplies, and shifting market demands. However, these very same circumstances are among the drivers of a rapid ongoing erosion of animal genetic diversity.

In order to meet this challenge, the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources was adopted in 2007, considering measures in the following four strategic priority areas: (i) characterization, inventory, and monitoring of trends and associated risks; (ii) sustainable use and development; (iii) conservation; and (iv) policies, institutions, and capacity-building.

This Special Issue aims to explore a wide range of topics relevant to these four strategic priority areas, in both developed and developing countries, especially considering innovative approaches to better characterize, conserve, and use locally adapted breeds in their agroecosystems in a sustainable manner.

Dr. Roswitha Baumung
Dr. Gregoire Leroy
Dr. Paul Boettcher
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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.

Keywords

  • animal genetic resources
  • livestock
  • characterization
  • sustainable use
  • breeding programs
  • conservation
  • policies
  • capacity building

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 1765 KiB  
Article
Livestock Keepers’ Attitudes: Keystone of Effective Community-Based Breeding Programs
by Bienvenue Zoma-Traoré, Lorenz Probst, Salifou Ouédraogo-Koné, Albert Soudré, Dominique Ouédraogo, Bernadette Yougbaré, Amadou Traoré, Negar Khayatzadeh, Gábor Mészáros, Pamela Anna Burger, Okeyo Ally Mwai, Johann Sölkner, Maria Wurzinger and Daniel Martin-Collado
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052499 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2953
Abstract
Livestock keepers in southwestern Burkina Faso hold the local Lobi taurine breed, local Zebu cattle, and their crosses. Some communities in the region have begun to implement community-based cattle breeding programs (CBBPs), which involve animal tagging and recording and, potentially, also bull sharing. [...] Read more.
Livestock keepers in southwestern Burkina Faso hold the local Lobi taurine breed, local Zebu cattle, and their crosses. Some communities in the region have begun to implement community-based cattle breeding programs (CBBPs), which involve animal tagging and recording and, potentially, also bull sharing. Based on the hypothesis that the participation of livestock keepers in CBBPs depends on their attitudes towards these programs, we used questionnaires to survey the attitudes of 125 farmers towards cattle breeding strategies and tools. Results were analyzed using principal component analysis. Farmers showed a highly positive attitude towards maintaining the features of their preferred cattle breed, but their attitudes varied substantially towards crossbreeding for breed improvement. Farmers generally agreed that performance was more important than animal appearance, and most of them were willing to cooperate with breeders’ associations but were skeptical about sharing their bulls with other farmers. The majority was reluctant to record performance data, which may be due to a capacity deficit and their confidence in being able to select the best animals based purely on phenotype. Our analysis suggests that breeders’ associations, as a key component of CBBPs, should lay down clear rules and obligations for their members from the outset. Timely consideration of farmers’ attitudes towards different breeding tools may improve their uptake and guarantee the sustainability of CBBPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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13 pages, 3284 KiB  
Article
Usefulness of Network Analysis to Characterize Technology Leaders in Small Dual-Purpose Cattle Farms in Mexico
by Oriana Villarroel-Molina, Carmen De-Pablos-Heredero, Jaime Rangel, María Prosperina Vitale and Antón García
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2291; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042291 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
The low technology adoption rate is one of the major problems in very small dual-purpose cattle farms in Mexico. Using the social network analysis approach, we characterized the farmer leaders in the innovation network and deepened the knowledge on the low technological adoption [...] Read more.
The low technology adoption rate is one of the major problems in very small dual-purpose cattle farms in Mexico. Using the social network analysis approach, we characterized the farmer leaders in the innovation network and deepened the knowledge on the low technological adoption causes. The sample consisted of 383 very small farms of dual-purpose cattle characterized by using nine reproductive management technologies. Our findings suggested that the network position of farmers had a significant impact on the technological level. Hence, the farmers farthest from the technology leaders showed the lowest levels of betweenness centrality index and high rates of constraint. Apart from this, advice, productive orientation, and intensification were also differentiating elements at the technological level. The findings provided relevant insights and useful tools to policy makers to better support, coordinate and enhance the adoption of innovation among smallholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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16 pages, 2618 KiB  
Article
Genomic Characterization of the Three Balkan Livestock Guardian Dogs
by Mateja Janeš, Minja Zorc, Maja Ferenčaković, Ino Curik, Peter Dovč and Vlatka Cubric-Curik
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2289; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042289 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4114
Abstract
Balkan Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) were bred to help protect sheep flocks in sparsely populated, remote mountainous areas in the Balkans. The aim of this study was genomic characterization (107,403 autosomal SNPs) of the three LGD breeds from the Balkans (Karst Shepherd, Sharplanina [...] Read more.
Balkan Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) were bred to help protect sheep flocks in sparsely populated, remote mountainous areas in the Balkans. The aim of this study was genomic characterization (107,403 autosomal SNPs) of the three LGD breeds from the Balkans (Karst Shepherd, Sharplanina Dog, and Tornjak). Our analyses were performed on 44 dogs representing three Balkan LGD breeds, as well as on 79 publicly available genotypes representing eight other LGD breeds, 70 individuals representing seven popular breeds, and 18 gray wolves. The results of multivariate, phylogenetic, clustering (STRUCTURE), and FST differentiation analyses showed that the three Balkan LGD breeds are genetically distinct populations. While the Sharplanina Dog and Tornjak are closely related to other LGD breeds, the Karst Shepherd is a slightly genetically distinct population with estimated influence from German Shepard (Treemix analysis). Estimated genomic diversity was high with low inbreeding in Sharplanina Dog (Ho = 0.315, He = 0.315, and FROH>2Mb = 0.020) and Tornjak (Ho = 0.301, He = 0.301, and FROH>2Mb = 0.033) breeds. Low diversity and high inbreeding were estimated in Karst Shepherds (Ho = 0.241, He = 0.222, and FROH>2Mb = 0.087), indicating the need for proper diversity management. The obtained results will help in the conservation management of Balkan LGD dogs as an essential part of the specific grazing biocultural system and its sustainable maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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6 pages, 456 KiB  
Communication
Learning Resilience in Local Livestock Breeds from COVID-19 Pandemic
by Federica Turri, Flavia Pizzi and Gustavo Gandini
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1715; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041715 - 5 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1552
Abstract
In situ conservation of local breeds requires populations in economically sustainable and resilient production systems. In those countries where the market recognizes the quality of the products of local breeds, the traditional relationship between local breeds and products can be used to improve [...] Read more.
In situ conservation of local breeds requires populations in economically sustainable and resilient production systems. In those countries where the market recognizes the quality of the products of local breeds, the traditional relationship between local breeds and products can be used to improve breed profitability. We analyze sales data from year 2020 of five dairy products associated with endangered local breeds farmed in northern Italy, in order to understand the potential resilience of these production systems, in terms of ability to persist and to adapt to disturbances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. All breed-cheese systems showed good capacity to persist during the COVID-19 pandemic, with four systems even increasing sales with respect to the period 2017–2019. Three breed-cheese systems showed rapid adaptation to the new conditions by modifying sales channels, including the introduction of e-commerce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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16 pages, 1865 KiB  
Article
Experiences from the Implementation of Community-Based Goat Breeding Programs in Malawi and Uganda: A Potential Approach for Conservation and Improvement of Indigenous Small Ruminants in Smallholder Farms
by Wilson Kaumbata, Helen Nakimbugwe, Wilson Nandolo, Liveness Jessica Banda, Gábor Mészáros, Timothy Gondwe, M Jennifer Woodward-Greene, Benjamin D. Rosen, Curtis P. Van Tassell, Johann Sölkner and Maria Wurzinger
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031494 - 1 Feb 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4956
Abstract
Maintaining diversity of small ruminant genetic resources is instrumental for sustainable agricultural production. Community-based livestock breeding programs (CBBPs) have emerged as a potential approach to implement breeding programs in smallholder farms. This study assesses the viability of CBBPs as a potential approach for [...] Read more.
Maintaining diversity of small ruminant genetic resources is instrumental for sustainable agricultural production. Community-based livestock breeding programs (CBBPs) have emerged as a potential approach to implement breeding programs in smallholder farms. This study assesses the viability of CBBPs as a potential approach for conservation and improvement of indigenous small ruminants, using case studies of goat CBBPs in Malawi and Uganda. Data were collected using focus group discussions, personal interviews, and direct observations. The program promotes and empowers smallholders to have access to small ruminant feed resources through protection of existing communal pasturelands, capacity building in pasture production, and conservation of crop residues and crop by-products. Implementation of the CBBP enhances the contributions through improved animal growth performance, kids’ survival, and twinning rates leading to increased offtake rates and better prices. The existence of permanently established supporting organizations and other stakeholders provides sustainable institutional support instrumental for the establishment and growth of CBBPs. However, establishment of functional community-based institutions (producer cooperatives) and investments in institutional/policy reforms to safeguard fair trading, access to common resources by small ruminant keepers, and adoption of the CBBP model into national livestock development programs are some of the key milestones that can guarantee sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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11 pages, 1932 KiB  
Article
Monitoring and Progress in the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action on Animal Genetic Resources
by Jennifer Cao, Roswitha Baumung, Paul Boettcher, Beate Scherf, Badi Besbes and Gregoire Leroy
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020775 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3450
Abstract
Animal genetic resources are critical to livestock productivity and adaptability, facilitate resilience to climate change, and are a key contributor to food security and livelihoods around the world. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (Global Plan), consisting of four Strategic [...] Read more.
Animal genetic resources are critical to livestock productivity and adaptability, facilitate resilience to climate change, and are a key contributor to food security and livelihoods around the world. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (Global Plan), consisting of four Strategic Priority Areas (SPAs: Characterization; Sustainable use; Conservation; Policy), provides a framework to guide countries and other stakeholders on actions to improve the management of animal genetic resources. Assessing, reporting and monitoring the progress and implementation of the Global Plan are critical processes for understanding global commitments made to enhance livestock genetic diversity. In this study, three rounds of reporting (2012, 2014, and 2019) from Member Nations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations were quantitatively analyzed to gain insight into the progress and implementation of the Global Plan by grouping questionnaires responses into quantitative indicator scores. Variations were found in indicator scores across SPAs, year, and regions, as well as within regions. Countries from North America and Europe and the Caucasus reported higher scores, while most BRICs countries (Brazil, India, China, South Africa) had high implementation scores relative to other countries in the same region. A significant positive correlation was observed between mean implementation scores in 2019 and GDP per capita (r = 0.456). Countries reporting higher implementation of in situ conservation also indicated higher proportions of breeds at risk. Significant progress was reported over the years for three of the four SPAs; SPA3 (conservation) was not found to have significantly improved. Despite the gains that have been made since 2012 in management of animal genetic resources, much remains to be done. The population status of nearly 60% of breeds is unknown while almost three quarters of breeds of known status are at risk of extinction. Efforts must continue to improve management of livestock genetic diversity, with further investments and development of approaches that support socio-economic viability of local genetic resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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19 pages, 1281 KiB  
Article
Diversity and Resilience to Socio-Ecological Changes of Smallholder Lagune Cattle Farming Systems of Benin
by Maurice Cossi Ahozonlin and Luc Hippolyte Dossa
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7616; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187616 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2562
Abstract
The indigenous smallholder Lagune breed and the production systems in which it is embedded in Southern Benin have received very little research or policy attention. Consequently, very little information exists on the diversity of these production systems or on their capacity to adapt [...] Read more.
The indigenous smallholder Lagune breed and the production systems in which it is embedded in Southern Benin have received very little research or policy attention. Consequently, very little information exists on the diversity of these production systems or on their capacity to adapt to ongoing socio-economic and environmental changes. This study aimed to explore and characterize the diversity of Lagune cattle production systems along with farmers’ local knowledge and resilience strategies. A questionnaire was administered to 417 Lagune cattle farmers across two agro-ecological zones: Ouémé Valley (OVZ) and Pobe (PZ). It included, inter alia, questions related to households’ socio-economic conditions, their cattle herd characteristics, and management practices. Categorical principal component analysis and the two-step clustering method were used to classify the production systems which were then compared using the chi-square and ANOVA procedures. Four distinct farm types were identified. This study revealed the important role of agroecology in the diversity of farmers’ breeding practices. Controlled mating was more common in tethering systems whereas uncontrolled mating, widespread in free-roaming systems, has favored Lagune breed admixture with zebus. Opportunities for conserving the genetic diversity within the Lagune breed might be greater in PZ where breed admixture was almost inexistent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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Review

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10 pages, 242 KiB  
Review
Capitalizing on the Potential of South African Indigenous Beef Cattle Breeds: A Review
by Este Van Marle-Köster, Carina Visser, Judith Sealy and Laurent Frantz
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4388; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084388 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4389
Abstract
Cattle populations arrived in Southern Africa almost 2000 years ago, brought by farming communities migrating southwards. For centuries, cattle have been an integral component of livestock production to meet the animal protein needs of a growing population and they are also important in [...] Read more.
Cattle populations arrived in Southern Africa almost 2000 years ago, brought by farming communities migrating southwards. For centuries, cattle have been an integral component of livestock production to meet the animal protein needs of a growing population and they are also important in many cultural and religious events, as repositories of wealth and signifiers of social status. Selection within these cattle populations led to the development of breeds such as the Nguni, Afrikaner and Drakensberger that are well adapted to the local production environment. Genetic information has been generated for most of these populations, providing new insights into their ancestry and indicating moderate levels of diversity and relatively low inbreeding. Indigenous cattle breeds are present in both the well-developed commercial sector as well as the developing South African livestock sector. These breeds have been included in several research studies, mostly focusing on their production and adaptive potential. Genetic improvement of the local cattle populations and breeds, which are often more resilient to local environmental conditions, has the potential to improve the productivity of the small-scale production developing sector and contribute to the alleviation of poverty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
16 pages, 349 KiB  
Review
Genetic Improvement of Local Cattle Breeds in West Africa: A Review of Breeding Programs
by Dominique Ouédraogo, Albert Soudré, Bernadette Yougbaré, Salifou Ouédraogo-Koné, Bienvenue Zoma-Traoré, Negar Khayatzadeh, Amadou Traoré, Moumouni Sanou, Gábor Mészáros, Pamela Anna Burger, Okeyo Ally Mwai, Maria Wurzinger and Johann Sölkner
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042125 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6125
Abstract
Cattle are one of the most important livestock species in West Africa, providing multiple services to farmers and contributing to national economies. Various breeding strategies have been implemented to enhance their productivity and have improved farmer livelihoods. This review describes cattle breeding experiences [...] Read more.
Cattle are one of the most important livestock species in West Africa, providing multiple services to farmers and contributing to national economies. Various breeding strategies have been implemented to enhance their productivity and have improved farmer livelihoods. This review describes cattle breeding experiences across West Africa, spanning the N’Dama breed in Mali, Senegal, and The Gambia to the breeds Azawak Zebu, Fulani Zebu, and taurine Baoulé in Burkina Faso. The main objectives of most breeding programs have been to optimize meat and milk performance of taurine and Zebu cattle as well as trypanotolerance of taurine cattle. In some cases, “closed nucleus” schemes have proven limited and so have evolved into “open nucleus” schemes. Recent community-based breeding programs have shown promise. The major challenges of breeding programs remain defining realistic breeding objectives and securing the involvement of stakeholders. All the strategies reviewed here have been funded externally within development or research projects that are often too short to yield tangible genetic improvement, and whether they will continue beyond those projects is uncertain. This review highlights the need for continuing government support to ensure the sustainability of local cattle breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)

Other

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18 pages, 315 KiB  
Perspective
Policy Effects on the Sustainability of Animal Breeding
by Elżbieta Martyniuk
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7787; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147787 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4948
Abstract
Sustainability in animal breeding can be understood as continuous availability of breeding animals and their germinal products for commercial production, that now and in the future, meet the requirements of a broad range of stakeholders: breeders, farmers, livestock keepers, producers, consumers and others, [...] Read more.
Sustainability in animal breeding can be understood as continuous availability of breeding animals and their germinal products for commercial production, that now and in the future, meet the requirements of a broad range of stakeholders: breeders, farmers, livestock keepers, producers, consumers and others, while respecting animal welfare and promoting more sustainable agriculture. Breeding goals are established to contribute to fulfilling various aspects of sustainability: quality, diversity, acceptability, environment and economics. Government policies and strategies have major impacts on animal breeding; they provide the basis for establishing the legal landscape for national priorities for livestock sector development and provide for institutional arrangements and control measures. Implementation of international agreements supports policy development for sustainability in animal breeding and production. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources was prepared to directly contribute to sustainable management of livestock calling for improved characterization, monitoring, breeding and conservation. The Convention on Biological Diversity calls for the conservation of genetic diversity, including agricultural genetic resources. Animal breeding and strategies for livestock development require long-term policy perspectives, as poor decisions can have lasting detrimental effects. This paper is intended to highlight the importance of policy development in efforts to achieve sustainability in the livestock sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources)
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