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EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGES ON ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND SUSTAINABILITY OF LIVESTOCK SYSTEMS

A. Nardone, B. Ronchi, N. Lacetera, M. Ranieri, U. Bernabucci
Published 2010 · Environmental Science

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Abstract The effects of climate change are controversial. This paper reviews the effects of climate change on livestock following the theory of global warming. Although, the effects of global warming will not be adverse everywhere, a relevant increase of drought is expected across the world affecting forage and crop production. Hot environment impairs production (growth, meat and milk yield and quality, egg yield, weight, and quality) and reproductive performance, metabolic and health status, and immune response. The process of desertification will reduce the carrying capacity of rangelands and the buffering ability of agro-pastoral and pastoral systems. Other systems, such as mixed systems and industrial or landless livestock systems, could encounter several risk factors mainly due to the variability of grain availability and cost, and low adaptability of animal genotypes. Regarding livestock systems, it will be strategic to optimise productivity of crops and forage (mainly improving water and soil management), and to improve the ability of animals to cope with environmental stress by management and selection. To guide the evolution of livestock production systems under the increase of temperature and extreme events, better information is needed regarding biophysical and social vulnerability, and this must be integrated with agriculture and livestock components.
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