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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

The risk of unintended deforestation from scaling sustainable livestock production systems

Castro-Nunez, Augusto; Buritica, Alexander; Gonzalez, Carolina; Villarino, Eliza; Holmann, Federico; Perez, Lisset; Del Rio, Martha; Sandoval, Danny; Eufemia, Luca; Loehr, Katharina; Durango, Sandra; Romero, Miguel; Lana, Marcos; Sotelo, Steven; Rivera, Ovidio; Maria Loboguerrero, Ana; Quintero, Marcela;

Abstract

Silvopastoral systems (SPS)-production systems integrating trees, forages, and livestock within the same land area-are recognized as critical for reducing tropical deforestation and improving livelihoods, ecosystem services, and carbon sinks. Yet, research on how scaling SPS influences forest cover changes at large geographical scales is scant. Our study delves deeper into the interlinkages between scaling SPS and deforestation. In two surveys conducted among 144 Colombian Amazon livestock producers with traditional or SPS farms, we assessed changes in herd composition between 2016 and 2020. Results showed a change in herd composition, with fewer males and more cows/heifers, suggesting a shift toward specializing in milk production, which, with the appropriate environmental incentives and safeguards, would unlikely broaden deforestation. However, interlinkages between the dairy and beef value chains suggest that extra male cattle from SPS intensification would be moved for fattening as a source of beef to new pastures at the forest border. If SPS scaling interventions in the Colombian Amazon are to be truly deforestation-free, they need to be designed based on a clear understanding of the interlinkages between food and land systems. Therefore, policies advancing the livestock and land-use agenda must create mechanisms that support deforestation-free livestock intensification, based on biophysical and socioeconomic evaluations.

Keywords

deforestation leakage; deforestation-free agriculture; environmental safeguards; scaling-out; silvopastoral systems; sustainable land use systems

Published in

Conservation science and practice

2021, volume: 3, number: 9, article number: e495
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Castro-Nunez, Augusto
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Buritica, Alexander
University of the Andes Colombia
Gonzalez, Carolina
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Villarino, Eliza
University of Copenhagen
Holmann, Federico
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Perez, Lisset
University of Copenhagen
Del Rio, Martha
Humboldt University of Berlin
Sandoval, Danny
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Eufemia, Luca
Humboldt University of Berlin
Loehr, Katharina
Humboldt University of Berlin
Durango, Sandra
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Sotelo, Steven
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Rivera, Ovidio
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT
Maria Loboguerrero, Ana
University of the Andes Colombia
Quintero, Marcela
International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG2 Zero hunger
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.495

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/113160