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Beyond livestock carrying capacity in the Sahelian and Sudanian zones of West Africa

Rahimi, Jaber; Haas, Edwin; Grote, Rüdiger; Kraus, David; Smerald, Andrew; Laux, Patrick; Goopy, John; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus

Abstract (englisch):
We applied the process-based model, LandscapeDNDC, to estimate feed availability in the Sahelian and Sudanian agro-ecological zones of West Africa as a basis for calculating the regional Livestock Carrying Capacity (LCC). Comparison of the energy supply (S) from feed resources, including natural pasture, browse, and crop residues, with energy demand (D) of the livestock population for the period 1981–2020 allowed us to assess regional surpluses (S > D) or deficits (S < D) in feed availability. We show that in the last 40 years a large-scale shift from surplus to deficit has occurred. While during 1981–1990 only 27% of the area exceeded the LCC, it was 72% for the period 2011–2020. This was caused by a reduction in the total feed supply of ~ 8% and an increase in feed demand of ~ 37% per-decade, driven by climate change and increased livestock population, respectively. Overall, the S/D decreased from ~ 2.6 (surplus) in 1981 to ~ 0.5 (deficit) in 2019, with a north–south gradient of increasing S/D. As climate change continues and feed availability may likely further shrink, pastoralists either need to source external feed or significantly reduce livestock numbers to avoid overgrazing, land degradation, and any further conflicts for resources.


Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000139974
Veröffentlicht am 12.11.2021
Originalveröffentlichung
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01706-4
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung - Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IMK-IFU)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsdatum 11.11.2021
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 2045-2322
KITopen-ID: 1000139974
HGF-Programm 12.11.22 (POF IV, LK 01) Biogeochemical modeling of ecosystem-climate interactions
Erschienen in Scientific reports
Verlag Nature Research
Band 11
Seiten Article no: 22094
Projektinformation UPSCALERS (AU, EU 6. RP, AURG II-1-074-2016)
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 10.11.2021
Schlagwörter Feed Resources; Maintenance Energy Requirement; Livestock Carrying Capacity (LCC); LandscapeDNDC; Western Africa.
Nachgewiesen in Scopus
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