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Livestock, Land and Land Grabbing
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Livestock, Land and Land Grabbing


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This presentation focuses on the role of intensive livestock farming and monoculture expansion for the environment. It also addresses the issue of land grabbing and grasslands as a carbon sink.

This presentation focuses on the role of intensive livestock farming and monoculture expansion for the environment. It also addresses the issue of land grabbing and grasslands as a carbon sink.

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  • 1. Livestock, Land and Land Grabbing
  • 2. Meat and Diary production • Uses 30 percent of the Earth’s land surface • 70 percent of all agricultural land • 8 percent of all water used by human society • Is the largest sectoral source of water pollution • Is the main cause of deforestation in Latin America, the continent with the highest deforestation rate
  • 3. Livestock‘s emissions 18 % of total human activity related emissions (transport: 14 %) • 65 % of nitrous oxide and 64 % of ammonia • 37 % of methane • 9 % of carbon dioxide equivalent Includes emissions of feed production Excludes land use / land use change Amazone basin: 70% of rainforest is lost to pastures 80 % of agricultural emissions IPCC
  • 4. Intensive livestock farming and monoculture expansion Industrial agriculture and the cultivation of mono-crops for feed or fuel are eroding ecological processes that allow carbon to be stored in soils and not released into the atmosphere. As a result of the use of chemical fertilizers, intensive agriculture and animal monocultures produce important quantities of nitrous oxide, the third most significant greenhouse gas responsible for global warming
  • 5. Invasión de lasoy Invasion of soja en el Paraguay in Paraguay Fase inicial Segunda fase Tercera Década de los `80 Década del 2000 `90 Situación actual y tendencias Década del 2000
  • 6. Major factor in land grabbing and rural depopulation: cattle ranching and soy production are labour-extensive forms of agriculture
  • 7. Meat consumption grams per head per day North South Global 224 g 47 g 101 g Recommendation to save the climate: (medical journal The Lancet) 90 g/head/day China: already reached 90g in the cities; 20% of urban kids are obese
  • 8. The crisis will only expand if US meat consumption patterns are copied • Without effective policies to halt it, global meat production will double by 2050 • This means 120 billion animals per year will be slaughtered • Almost all growth will happen in industrial systems • Triggering massive land grabbing for fodder production
  • 9. „Projections“ • 2013: 7 billion • 2050: 9 billion 30% population increase 100% food increase because of „societal expectations“ to eat more meat Without industrial livestock: Food for 10.5 billion people already today
  • 10. Subsidies to animal products in OECD (2009) in billion USD milk pork beef Soya chicken
  • 11. Intensification: More of the same problems Livestock biotechnologies are likely to lead to • faster increase in genetic uniformity, • more market power and dependency on a few genetics corporations, • more disease problems, • more demands for subsidies, • more pressure on animal welfare, • more environmental pollution, and • more climate change, in sum, more of the problems that are already now an implicit part of the production system and not likely to be solved
  • 12. Impacts of shift to industrial livestock farming • In Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil: soy monocultures, agrotoxics, deforestation, depopulation of countryside, genocide amongst Indigenous peoples • Indonesia, India: Farmers become tools for industry, introduction GMOs for feedstock, growth hormones, antibiotics • Benin, Kenya, Cameroon: Pastoralism replaced by imported industrial livestock products
  • 13. The main impacts are quantitative so standards and certification do not function
  • 14. Reducing methane emissions from factory farms with biogas digesters are a major CDM activity Smithfield farm in La Granja, Veracruz, Mexico 56% of CDM projects in Mexico are pig farms These biodigesters, however, have experienced many technical difficulties that place their future viability and continued development in question. E. Lokey in: Renewable Energy Volume 34, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 566-569
  • 15. Livestock’s “co-benefits” • 70 % of the world’s poor keep livestock • livelihoods for one billion of the world’s poor • 200 million pastoralists • 2/3 of livestock keepers are female FAO
  • 16. Grasslands: Carbon sink AND food resource • 70 % of agric. land • Livestock is the only way to turn grassland into food • Evolution: grasslands & ruminants • Seasonal use by wild and domesticated herds contributes to grassland conservation as well as to its carbon sink function
  • 17. Grasslands - a major carbon sink • Savannas can reproduce 150% of their weight annually – forests 10% • • • • • Source: Davies J. & Nori M. (2008): Managing and mitigating climate change through Pastoralism. Policy Matters, October 2008 Cover 30-45 % of land surface - more than forest Susceptible to land grabbing, no advocates Roots are a major carbon store 34 % of terrestrial carbon stores Too often, grasslands are classified as ‘marginal’, ‘degraded’ or ‘unused’ lands Conversion of grasslands into croplands has many negative impacts
  • 18. The Landscape Approach and the risks of Land Grabbing • Who decides what activities take place where? Where does the destruction go? • Rural people, especially Indigenous peoples and forest peoples, and especially women, are almost always politically and economically marginalized – who decides for them? • “Land degradation neutral” - whose livelihoods are destroyed? Whose lands and livelihoods are used to “compensate” for it?
  • 19. Biodiversity Offsets: Double Damage
  • 20. Excluding people from the soy lands, and the offset areas, while failing to address environmental impacts
  • 21. Inherent Risks of REDD+ - Weak land tenure rights and negotiation power of women, Indigenous peoples, peasants, pastoralists : Elite resource capture and land grabbing are inherent risks - Counting how much carbon is stored is expensive – most funds will go to (male) consultants - Focus on carbon promotes monoculture tree plantations and ignores social and cultural values - Who will Pay for the Results?
  • 22. Can REDD+ Address the Drivers of Forest Loss?
  • 23. REDD+ and the Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation November 2013 Global Forest Coalition Editing: Ronnie Hall
  • 24. Further reading Industrial livestock production and its impact on smallholders in developing countries Susanne Gura May 2008
  • 25. For more information: Brighter Green: Global Forest Coalition: