Understanding and quantifying the interaction between livestock and the environment is a complex challenge.

The positive and negative consequences of livestock rearing and pastoralism vary widely between different production systems for different species in different regions.Livestock can make positive contributions to the environment, for example by enhancing soil fertility through manure, or supporting the management of sustainable rangelands (source). However, livestock farming also contributes to negative impacts on the environment; including greenhouse gas emissions, water use and pollution, biodiversity loss and land use change. Good data and evidence can support the development of livestock initiatives that reduce harmful impacts while generating social, economic and environmental benefits.

For more insights, explore resources on Environment & Livestock.

Photo credits: GHG emissions - Uganda. Sonja Leitner (ILRI) (source); Water Use - Cattle at ILRI's Kapiti Research Station. Paul Karaimu (ILRI) (source); Biodiversity - Goat in West Bengal rice field. Mann (ILRI) (source); Land Use - To the grazing field, Afar, Ethiopia. Apollo Habtamu (ILRI) (source)

Header photo: Goats before the Himalayan mountain range. Susan MacMillan (ILRI) (source)