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Greenhouse gas emissions from Indian livestock


Livestock constitutes an integral component of Indian agriculture sector and also a major source of GHGs emissions. The study presents a detailed inventory of GHG emissions at district/state level from different age-groups, indigenous and exotic breed of different Indian livestock categories estimated using the recent census 2003 and country-specific emission coefficients based on IPCC guidelines. The total methane emission including enteric fermentation and manure management of livestock was estimated at 11.75 Tg/year for the year 2003. Enteric fermentation constitutes ~91 % of the total methane emissions from Indian livestock. Dairy buffalo and indigenous dairy cattle together contribute 60 % of the methane emissions. The total nitrous oxide emission from Indian livestock for the year 2003 is estimated at 1.42 Gg/year, with 86.1 % contribution from poultry. The total GHGs emission from Indian livestock is estimated at 247.2 Mt in terms of CO2 equivalent emissions. Although the Indian livestock contributes substantially to the methane budget, the per capita emission is only 24.23 kgCH4/animal/year. Using the remote sensing derived potential feed/fodder area available for livestock, the average methane flux was calculated as 74.4 kg/ha. The spatial patterns derived in GIS environment indicated the regions with high GHGs emissions that need to be focused subsequently for mitigation measures. The projected estimates indicate a likely increase of 40 % in methane emissions from buffalo population.

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This study was carried out as a part of Environment Impact Assessment of Agriculture project under Earth Observation Applications Mission Programme of DOS-ISRO. We sincerely acknowledge the encouragement received from Dr. R.R. Navalgund, former Director, SAC for undertaking this study. Thanks are due to Dr. Saroj Maity, Scientist EPSA/SAC for scientific discussion. Indiastat team is thankfully acknowledged for online livestock statistics. Authors extend sincere thanks to anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Abha Chhabra.

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Chhabra, A., Manjunath, K.R., Panigrahy, S. et al. Greenhouse gas emissions from Indian livestock. Climatic Change 117, 329–344 (2013).

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  • Methane Emission
  • Methane Flux
  • Nitrous Oxide Emission
  • Manure Management
  • Enteric Fermentation