Biometeorology for Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change pp 131-170

Part of the Biometeorology book series (BIOMET, volume 1) | Cite as

Response of Domestic Animals to Climate Challenges

  • John Gaughan
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Silvia E. Valtorta
  • Hesham Hussein Khalifa
  • LeRoy Hahn
  • Terry Mader

The livestock sector is socially, culturally and politically very significant. It accounts for 40% of the world's agriculture Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It employs 1.3 billion people, and creates livelihoods for one billion of the world's population living in poverty. Climate change is seen as a major threat to the survival of many species, ecosystems and the financial sustainability of livestock production systems in many parts of the world. The potential problems are even greater in developing countries. Economic studies suggest severe losses if current management systems are not modified to reflect the shift in climate. In short, farmers/ managers need to adapt to the changes. There has been considerable interest in gaining an understanding how domestic livestock respond to climatic stressors. Studies have for the most part been undertaken in developed countries. These studies have provided a wealth of knowledge on differences between genotypes, the impact of climatic stress on production, reproduction and health. However little is known about adaptation of animals to rapid changes in climatic conditions. Furthermore, little is known about the impacts of climatic stressors on many indigenous breeds used throughout Africa, Asia and South America. The uncertainty of climate change, and how changes will impact on animal production on a global scale are largely unknown.

This chapter will discuss: what is understood about animal adaptation; the current knowledge of the impacts of climate stressors on domestic animals, in terms of production, health, and nutrition; housing and management methods which can be used to alleviate heat stress; techniques used to predict animal responses to heat; and, strategies required to ensure continued viability of livestock production.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gaughan
    • 1
  • Nicola Lacetera
    • 2
  • Silvia E. Valtorta
    • 3
  • Hesham Hussein Khalifa
    • 4
  • LeRoy Hahn
  • Terry Mader
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Animal StudiesThe University of QueenslandGattonAustralia
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Produzioni AnimaliUniversità degli Studi della TusciaViterboItaly
  3. 3.Department of Animal Production, Faculty of AgricultureAl-Azhar UniversityNasr CityEgypt
  4. 4.Acuña de Figueroa 121 Piso 7 Depto51Buenos AiresARGENTINA
  5. 5.Professor, Animal ScienceHaskell Ag. Lab.Concord

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