Conflicting estimates on land devoted to livestock & agriculture

June 5, 2015

A. Agricultural land is 26% of global land. Intensive pasture is 7%; animal feed production is 4%; and grazed scrublands is 4%. Hans Hurni, et al.,
[Also the text associated reads... "together with pasturing,” about 3/4th of agricultural land goes into animal food production.
“Key Implications of Land Conversions in Agriculture,+ Wake Up Before It Is Too Late, Trade and Development Review 2013, UNCTAD, 221. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf

 

B. Livestock systems occupy 45% of the global surface area….” “Livestock and Climate Change,” Philip Thornton, Mario Herrero and Polly Ericksen, Issue Brief, November 2011, International Livestock Research Institute, 1. http://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/handle/10568/10601/IssueBrief3.pdf

 

C. Refers to: “…using 26 percent of land worldwide for grazing livestock and 33 percent of arable land for growing feed.” Goodland, R. & Anhang, J., “Livestock and Climate Change,” World Watch 22, 10–19 (2009), 13. http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

 

D. "Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes." FAO Livestock's Long Shadow as reported by the FAO Newsroom, http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/News/2006/1000448/index.html

 

E. ". Pastoralism depends on mobile grazing across communal rangelands. It is characterized by the maintenance of low livestock density and little dependence from purchased feed and external inputs. This livestock system uses 25% of the global land (UN, 2010) and occupies about 190 million people in the world (ETC-group, 2009)." From: THE UNEXPECTED CONTRIBUTIONS OF LIVESTOCK: FOUNDATIONS OF THE DISSIMILAR IMPLICATION OF THE DIVERSE LIVESTOCK FARMING SYSTEMS TO GLOBAL CHANGE unsigned but sent by Marta Rivera
Sources cited but not confirmed: ETC-group, 2009. Who Will Feed Us? Questions for the Food and Climate Crises. (Available at: www.etcgroup.org/upload/publication/pdf_file/ETC_Who_Will_Feed_Us.pdf)
United Nations (UN), 2010. Preliminary study of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on discrimination in the context of the right to food. Human Rights Council. Thirteenth session. Agenda item 5. 32 pp.

 

F. Summary: 76 percent of all agricultural land is devoted to animal production (crops are less than 10% of that)
All crops: 1.53 billion ha, 12 % of Total ice-free land p 337
Pasture and grazing: 3.38 billion ha 26% of total ice-free land
So, total agricultural land is 38% of total ice-free land.

 

Land for feed crops: 350 million ha. Or .35 billion ha p. 338
3.38 + .35 = 3.73 B ha = total land devoted to animal production
3.73 B ha / 4.91 total ag land = 75% of all ag land goes devoted to animal food production [his text says 75% but doing the math, it's 76%]
3.38 / 3.75 = 91% of all ag land that is used for livestock is for grazing/pasture p. 338

Source:
Foley, JA, et al, Solutions for a cultivated planet, Nature, Analysis, Oct. 2011. Vol 478, doi: 10.1038/nature10452 http://gisweb.ciat.cgiar.org/RTBMaps/docs/Foley_etal_nature10452.pdf

 

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