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Improvement of economic traits and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in sheep and goats in Central Asia


In central Asian countries, sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus) represent a key economic resource for millions of people living in rural communities and, at the same time, a critical source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This study aims to estimate GHG emissions of several economic traits of sheep and goats and investigate sustainable mitigation strategies. It advances beyond previous studies by calculating the GHG emissions of traits of economic importance rather than reporting average animal emission and can thus provide insights for creating better-targeted mitigation strategies. In dairy sheep in Tajikistan, the emission intensity (EI) decreased from 62.4 to 56.7 kg CO2-eq kg−1 of protein as the production of milk increased by 20%. In meat goats raised in Turkmenistan, the EI decreased by 2.6 kg CO2-eq kg−1 of protein when simulating an increase in meat production of + 20%. Improving female fertility by 10% scaled down the EI of meat sheep in Uzbekistan by 36 kg CO2-eq kg−1 of protein. The improvement of meat and milk productions, female fertility, and litter size and the reduction of mortality, and female culling can reduce the emission intensity of sheep and goats globally. Thus, genetic improvement of economic traits is an important global mitigation tool. Furthermore, improvement of national and international sheep and goat strategies can provide policymakers with valuable information to develop regional and global mitigation actions.

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Correspondence to Flavio Forabosco.


Appendix 1

Table 5 Flock structure of dairy and meat sheep and goats in two production systems in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

Appendix 2

Table 6 Phenotypic traits and feed composition of the ratio for sheep and goats in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

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Forabosco, F., Negrini, R. Improvement of economic traits and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in sheep and goats in Central Asia. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 24, 129–146 (2019).

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  • Breeding
  • Environment
  • Goat
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Mitigation
  • Sheep