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Review article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

A Systematic Mapping of Current Literature on Sustainability at Farm-Level in Beef and Lamb Meat Production

Arvidsson Segerkvist, Katarina; Hansson, Helena; Sonesson, Ulf; Gunnarsson, Stefan


Beef and lamb meat production is associated with important cultural, economic and environmental impacts in most countries worldwide. However, it is also related with sustainability challenges. To enable cattle and sheep farming to develop in line with sustainability, existing knowledge need to be implemented and identified knowledge gaps filled. The purpose of this article was to systematically map the scientific literature on environmental, economic and social sustainability at farm-level beef and lamb meat production to identify knowledge gaps and to point to important future actions and areas of research. Papers published January 2000-August 2020 with a geographical origin in Europe, Northern America, and Australia-New Zealand were included. The systematic literature search resulted in a total of 1355 hits; however, after removing papers which were considered out of the scope of the study, and duplicate papers, only 22 and 11 papers related to beef and sheep farming, respectively were retained for further analysis. Of these, only 11 in total included all three sustainability dimensions. Several papers only mentioned one or two of the sustainability dimensions or put them in relation to that/those main dimension covered, thus limiting the extent to which possible synergies or tradeoffs between different sustainability aspects actually can be studied. This indicates a need for a more comprehensive approach when studying farm-level sustainability. Future research would benefit from a more holistic approach and include all dimensions of sustainability within the same study. Further, focus should also be on how to measure and assess sustainability aspects in a standardized way.


sheep; cattle; animal welfare; life cycle assessment; sustainable production

Published in

2021, Volume: 13, number: 5, article number: 2488
Publisher: MDPI