Handbook on Climate Change and Agriculture
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Handbook on Climate Change and Agriculture

Edited by Ariel Dinar and Robert Mendelsohn

This book explores the interaction between climate change and the agriculture sector. Agriculture is essential to the livelihood of people and nations, especially in the developing world; therefore, any impact on it will have significant economic, social, and political ramifications. Scholars from around the world and from various fields have been brought together to explore this important topic.
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Chapter 3: Effects of Climate Variability on Domestic Livestock

Terry L. Mader and John B. Gaughan


Terry L. Mader and John B. Gaughan INTRODUCTION The livestock industry makes a significant contribution to most rural economies. It accounts for 40 percent of the world’s agricultural GDP, and in developing countries can account for as much as 80 percent of GDP (World Bank, 2007a, b). It employs 1.3 billion people and creates livelihoods for one billion of the world’s population living in poverty (Gaughan et al., 2009). Livestock production accounts for approximately 70 percent of all agricultural land use and nearly 30 percent of the total land surface use (IPCC, 2007b, c; Neely et al., 2009). Climate changes and related variation in climatic conditions could have significant impact on the economic viability of livestock production systems worldwide. Rötter and Van de Geijn (1999) suggest that any shifts in climatic conditions could affect animal agriculture in four primary ways: (1) feedgrain, production, availability and price; (2) pasture and forage crop production and quality; (3) animal health, growth and reproduction; and (4) disease and pest distributions. As a result of thermal challenges associated with climate variability and change, normal animal behavioral, immunological and physiological functions are all potentially impacted (Nienaber and Hahn, 2007). In addition, metabolic and digestive functions are often compromised when animals are exposed to thermal stress as a result of altered or impaired feeding activity (Mader, 2003). These effects could result in changes in the types of animals and genotypes that are used, changes in facilities and housing utilized for care and management of livestock, and...

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