LivestockPlus: Forages, sustainable intensification, and food security in the tropics

Abstract

The increased use of grain-based feed for livestock during the last two decades has contributed, along with other factors, to a rise in grain prices that has reduced human food security. This circumstance argues for feeding more forages to livestock, particularly in the tropics where many livestock are reared on small farms. Efforts to accomplish this end, referred to as the ‘LivestockPlus’ approach, intensify in sustainable ways the management of grasses, shrubs, trees, and animals. By decoupling the human food and livestock feed systems, these efforts would increase the resilience of the global food system. Effective LivestockPlus approaches take one of two forms: (1) simple improvements such as new forage varieties and animal management practices that spread from farmer to farmer by word of mouth, or (2) complex sets of new practices that integrate forage production more closely into farms’ other agricultural activities and agro-ecologies.

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Acknowledgement

Funds from the U.S. National Science Foundation Grant #1009499 supported this research.

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Correspondence to Thomas K. Rudel.

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Rudel, T.K., Paul, B., White, D. et al. LivestockPlus: Forages, sustainable intensification, and food security in the tropics. Ambio 44, 685–693 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0676-2

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Keywords

  • Forages
  • Livestock
  • Livestock plus
  • Sustainable intensification
  • Tropics