Special Issue "Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tiago Domingos
Website
Guest Editor
MARETEC—Marine, Environment and Technology Centre, LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: ecological economics; dynamic energy budget theory in biological systems; economics; energy and economic growth; sustainable agriculture; thermodynamics; ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Teixeira
Website
Guest Editor
MARETEC/LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: life cycle assessment; ecosystem services; carbon sequestration; environmental economics; industrial ecology; grasslands; sustainable livestock production; remote sensing; machine learning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of the publication of the “Livestock’s Long Shadow” FAO report. This landmark report influenced science and perceptions of the role of livestock as a driver of environmental impacts—for example, high greenhouse gas emissions or threats to biodiversity. However, in the meantime, more data has become available and many innovative methodological frameworks for analysis have been proposed. The comprehensive toolkit of Industrial Ecology can potentially provide a renewed look at available data and evidence new mechanisms that shed light on this topic. This toolkit comprises, for example, Environmentally Extended Input-Output Analysis for large-scale assessments, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for product supply chains, or Material Flow Analysis (mass and energy) and farm-scale agronomic and economic modelling.

This Special Issue aims to provide an updated look at the role of intensive and extensive animal production systems on sustainability that can expand and improve on the findings of “Livestock’s Long Shadow”. The issue welcomes original contributions that apply innovative methods in Industrial Ecology for assessing the sustainability of the livestock sector, both environmentally and economically. Methods are particularly welcome when depicting the role of indirect land use change, applying consequential LCA, or assessing ecosystem services provided by extensive livestock systems (soil and biodiversity impacts, including carbon sequestration). Additionally welcome are studies on production systems with environmental benefits, such as the application of the “circular economy” concept to intensive systems (energy recovery from waste, use of co-products for feed, nutrient recovery), the advantages of using marginal land for grazing and improved nutrient recycling and carbon sequestration in extensive grass or grass/legume-based systems. Global or regional studies are welcome, as are local case studies if they illustrate innovative assessment methods or if they are important examples of systems with environmental benefits. Quantitative reviews with global scope may also be submitted.

Prof. Dr. Tiago Domingos
Dr. Ricardo Teixeira
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 papers will be 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 1900 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

  • Industrial ecology
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Material flow analysis
  • Livestock
  • Pastures
  • Animal feed
  • Sustainable food production

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

Open AccessEditorial
Current Practice and Future Perspectives for Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154210 - 04 Aug 2019
Abstract
The year 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of the publication of the “Livestock’s Long Shadow” FAO report [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
“BalSim”: A Carbon, Nitrogen and Greenhouse Gas Mass Balance Model for Pastures
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010053 - 21 Dec 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Animal production systems are increasingly required to co-produce meat products and other ecosystem services. Sown biodiverse pastures (SBP) were developed in Portugal as an improvement over semi-natural pastures (SNP). SBP increase yields and animal intake during grazing, are substantial carbon sinks, and the [...] Read more.
Animal production systems are increasingly required to co-produce meat products and other ecosystem services. Sown biodiverse pastures (SBP) were developed in Portugal as an improvement over semi-natural pastures (SNP). SBP increase yields and animal intake during grazing, are substantial carbon sinks, and the abundance of legumes in the mixtures provides plants with a biological source of nitrogen. However, the data available and the data demands of most models make integrated modelling of these effects difficult. Here, we developed “BalSim”, a mass balance approach for the estimation of carbon and nitrogen flows and the direct greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of the two production systems. Results show that, on average, the on-farm GHG balance is −2.6 and 0.8 t CO2e/ha.yr for SBP and SNP, respectively. Ignoring the effects of carbon sequestration, and taking into account only non-CO2 emissions, the systems are responsible for 17.0 and 16.3 kg CO2e/kg live weight.yr. The annual analysis showed that non-CO2 emissions were highest in a drought year due to decreased yield and stocking rate. We also showed through scenario analysis that matching the grazing level to the yield is crucial to minimize emissions and ensure reduced feed supplementation while maintaining high soil carbon stocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Can Agriculture Balance Its Energy Consumption and Continue to Produce Food? A Framework for Assessing Energy Neutrality Applied to French Agriculture
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4624; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124624 - 06 Dec 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
In the context of energy transition, agriculture is facing a double challenge, which is to reduce its fossil fuel dependency and provide—in addition to food—bioenergy to society for substitution to fossil fuels. The feasibility of this challenge depends on whether agriculture can achieve [...] Read more.
In the context of energy transition, agriculture is facing a double challenge, which is to reduce its fossil fuel dependency and provide—in addition to food—bioenergy to society for substitution to fossil fuels. The feasibility of this challenge depends on whether agriculture can achieve energy neutrality, meaning to balance its consumption of external energy by energy recovery from internal sources. Livestock feed is a major determinant in this balance. We use France as a demonstration case of the changing role of feed in the long-term agricultural energy metabolism and the challenge of reaching energy neutrality. Results show that current agriculture is structurally energy deficient to such an extent that its functional energy requirements almost equal its final produce. The energy recovery potential from crop residues and manure could at best cover the primary biomass equivalent of the external energy inputs to agriculture. Only a suppression of feed from cropland combined with very high energy recovery from agricultural residues could allow achieving energy neutrality and making agriculture a net energy source to society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Characterizing Livestock Production in Portuguese Sown Rainfed Grasslands: Applying the Inverse Approach to a Process-Based Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124437 - 27 Nov 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Grasslands are a crucial resource that supports animal grazing and provides other ecosystem services. We estimated the main properties of Portuguese sown biodiverse permanent pastures rich in legumes (SBP) starting from measured data for soil organic carbon (SOC) and using the Rothamsted Carbon [...] Read more.
Grasslands are a crucial resource that supports animal grazing and provides other ecosystem services. We estimated the main properties of Portuguese sown biodiverse permanent pastures rich in legumes (SBP) starting from measured data for soil organic carbon (SOC) and using the Rothamsted Carbon Model. Starting from a dataset of SOC, aboveground production (AGP) and stocking rates (SR) in SBP, we used an inverse approach to estimate root to shoot (RS) ratios, livestock dung (LD), livestock intake (LI) and the ratio between easily decomposable and resistant plant material. Results for the best fit show that AGP and belowground productivity is approximately the same (RS is equal to 0.96). Animals consume 61% of the AGP, which is within the acceptable range of protein and energy intake. Carbon inputs from dung are also within the range found in the literature (1.53 t C/livestock unit). Inputs from litter are equally distributed between decomposable and resistant material. We applied these parameters in RothC for a dataset from different sites that only comprises SOC to calculate AGP and SR. AGP and SR were consistently lower in this case, because these pastures did not receive adequate technical support. These results highlight the mechanisms for carbon sequestration in SBP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Effects on Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Ecological Intensification of Meat Production with Rainfed Sown Biodiverse Pastures
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4184; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114184 - 13 Nov 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Feed production is an important contributor to the environmental impacts caused by livestock production. In Portugal, non-dairy cattle are commonly fed with a mixture of grazing and forages/concentrate feed. Sown biodiverse permanent pastures rich in legumes (SBP) were introduced to provide quality animal [...] Read more.
Feed production is an important contributor to the environmental impacts caused by livestock production. In Portugal, non-dairy cattle are commonly fed with a mixture of grazing and forages/concentrate feed. Sown biodiverse permanent pastures rich in legumes (SBP) were introduced to provide quality animal feed and offset concentrate consumption. SBP also sequester large amounts of carbon in soils. Here, we used a comparative life cycle assessment approach to test the substitution of concentrate through installation of high-yield SBP. Using field data for the Alentejo region in Portugal, we compare the global warming potential of a baseline scenario where cattle is fed in low-yield, semi-natural pastures supplemented with feeds that vary in the ratio of silage to concentrate, and a second scenario where the feed is substituted with high-yield SBP. Although SBP use more fertilizers and machinery, this replacement avoids the emission of about 3 t CO2eq/ha even after SBP stop sequestering carbon. Using crude fiber to establish the equivalence between scenarios leads to higher avoided impact, owing to the fact that the fiber content of SBP is also higher. SBP can avoid 25% emissions from beef production per kg of live animal weight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Practical Comparison of Regionalized Land Use and Biodiversity Life Cycle Impact Assessment Models Using Livestock Production as a Case Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4089; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114089 - 07 Nov 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Land use is increasingly important for impact assessment in life cycle assessment (LCA). Its impacts on biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services are crucial to depict the environmental performance of products. Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) models are commonly selected by consensus through [...] Read more.
Land use is increasingly important for impact assessment in life cycle assessment (LCA). Its impacts on biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services are crucial to depict the environmental performance of products. Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) models are commonly selected by consensus through processes frequently misinformed by the absence of practical application studies. Here, we performed an assessment of all free and peer-reviewed LCIA models for land use. We started with spatial correlation analysis at the country scale. Models that use the same indicators are strongly correlated, suggesting that regionalization is no longer a decisive issue in model selection. We applied these models in a case study for cattle production where feeds are replaced by sown biodiverse pastures (SBP). We tested (1) a non-regionalized inventory from an LCA database and, (2) a regionalized inventory that explicit considered the locations of land occupation and transformation. We found the same qualitative result: the installation of SBP avoids impacts due to feed substitution. Each hectare of SBP installed avoids the occupation of 0.5 hectares per year for feed ingredient production. Adding inventory regionalization for 70% of land use flows leads to a change of 15% in results, suggesting limited spatial differentiation between country-level characterization factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Carbon Footprint of Milk from Pasture-Based Dairy Farms in Azores, Portugal
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103658 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
The dairy sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Pasture-based dairy production is sometimes credited as environmentally friendlier but is less studied than more intensive production systems. Here we characterize and calculate the carbon footprint (CF), using life cycle assessment, of [...] Read more.
The dairy sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Pasture-based dairy production is sometimes credited as environmentally friendlier but is less studied than more intensive production systems. Here we characterize and calculate the carbon footprint (CF), using life cycle assessment, of the “Vacas Felizes” pasture-based milk production system, in the Azores archipelago. Impacts were determined for multiple functional units: mass, energy and nutritional content, farm, area and animal. We performed multivariate analysis to assess the contribution of production parameters to the CF. Finally, we performed a literature review to compare these results with other production systems. Results show that emissions from enteric fermentation, concentrated feed production and (organic and mineral) fertilizer application are the three main sources of impact. Milk yield is a key production feature for the determination of emissions. The average CF is 0.83 kg CO2/kg raw milk. At each milk yield level, the farms are approximately homogeneous. Compared with other studies, “Vacas Felizes” milk has a lower CF than 80 (out of 84) published CFs and on average it is approximately 32% lower. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Applying Data Mining to China’s Swine Farming Industry: A Compromise Perspective of Economic, Environmental and Overall Performances
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072374 - 09 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The economic and environmental performances of the swine farming industry have always resulted in heated discussions in developing countries. Exploring the relationship between these features and the producers’ overall performance is the focus of this paper. For constructing multi-objective features that include the [...] Read more.
The economic and environmental performances of the swine farming industry have always resulted in heated discussions in developing countries. Exploring the relationship between these features and the producers’ overall performance is the focus of this paper. For constructing multi-objective features that include the above features, a compromise approach for optimization is taken into consideration. For classifying the overall performance into different levels and detecting the effect of economic and environmental features on such features, an iteration scheme is developed in which the overall performance is treated as a target label. By neglecting this target label, a k-means clustering method is then used to help predict the producer’s overall performance given their economic and environmental features. In data pre-processing, correlation analysis for feature selection shows that the producer’s pollution emission and received regulation intensity largely affect its overall performance, while profit is found to be negatively correlated with pollution emission as regulation intensity is neglected. The classification result derived from the Silhouette Coefficient shows that the data set can be efficiently split into different groups in terms of the producer’s overall performance. The average distance between the objects in the low-performance group is larger than that of the high-performance group. The threshold position between the two groups is found to be largely dependent on the features of pollution emission and regulation intensity. The clustering result obtained by the k-means method shows good effectiveness and efficiency in separating the objects into different groups based on various features other than the overall performance. In 2- and 3-cluster cases, the result also shows evidence of the impact of economic and environmental features on the clustering result. The cross-validation analysis under a set of randomly chosen splitting points shows an increasing out-of-sample prediction quality with increases in training sample size. As one of the by-products of this paper, the geographical distribution in the clustering result is found partially consistent with the official report from Chinas central government regarding advantageous regions within the industry. In addition to current research, the ease of using the knowledge obtained in this paper for transfer learning is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Optimization Models to Improve Estimations and Reduce Nitrogen Excretion from Livestock Production
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2362; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072362 - 07 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Sustainable food production plays a key role at different levels, such as countries, producers and consumers worldwide. Commitments of countries to reducing environmental impact include livestock production due to its contribution to greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The purpose of this research is [...] Read more.
Sustainable food production plays a key role at different levels, such as countries, producers and consumers worldwide. Commitments of countries to reducing environmental impact include livestock production due to its contribution to greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The purpose of this research is to design and validate optimization models to improve assessments of emissions from livestock. As feed consumed is the principal source of the emissions, we have developed an aggregated optimization model to assess feed intake and therefore emissions at country level, by using the best technical and statistical data. This model provides a common framework to assess livestock emissions for all countries and in particular in the European Union. The model has been validated in the Spanish intensive pig sector, which is the principal producer by head count of the European Union. Results from several scenarios, which differ in animal protein and energy needs, have been compared to those from other methodologies and the Spanish National Inventory System, which assesses greenhouse gases and pollutants annually. This model can be adapted to other species, and applied to other countries and at farm level. Finally, this model is a useful tool to evaluate the effects on the emissions related to changes in animal nutrition, price and supply of raw materials, as well as agricultural and environmental policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop