Ecological Livestock

Greenpeace Research Laboratories Technical Report (Review) 03-2012

Publication - 12 February, 2013
Options for reducing livestock production and consumption to fit within ecological limits, with a focus in Europe.

Human pressure on the planet is reaching a scale that could compromise the stability of the Earth's systems. A group of influential scientists have recently identified nine planetary boundaries related to Earth-system processes and their associated thresholds, which – if crossed – could destabilise our living environment.

The main impacts of livestock production are key components in four of those boundaries – biodiversity loss, nitorgen and phosphorus cycles, land use change, and climate change – including the three already beyond acceptable levels.

Ecological livestock, and more widely ecological farming, relies on the principle of ecological optimisation. Ecologically optimising agriculture systems will ultimately lead to achieving global food security while ensuring protection of ecosystem services.

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