The impacts of climate change on livestock and livestock systems in developing countries: A review of what we know and what we need to know
Despite the importance of livestock to poor people and the magnitude of the changes that are likely to befall livestock systems, the intersection of climate change and livestock in developing countries is a relatively neglected research area. Little is known about the interactions of climate and increasing climate variability with other drivers of change in livestock systems and in broader development trends. In many places in the tropics and subtropics, livestock systems are changing rapidly, and the spatial heterogeneity of household response to change may be very large. While opportunities may exist for some households to take advantage of more conducive rangeland and cropping conditions, for example, the changes projected will pose serious problems for many other households. We briefly review the literature on climate change impacts on livestock and livestock systems in developing countries, and identify some key knowledge and data gaps. We also list some of the broad researchable issues associated with how smallholders and pastoralists might respond to climate change. The agendas of research and development organisations may need adjustment if the needs of vulnerable livestock keepers in the coming decades are to be met effectively.