{Impacts of European livestock production: nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorus and greenhouse gas emissions, land-use, water eutrophication and biodiversity}

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Environmental Research Letters, IOP Publishing, Volume 10, Number 11, p.115004 (2015)




http://stacks.iop.org/1748-9326/10/i=11/a=115004?key=crossref.b8ce885804d5c860e008c03ed18e7ab8 https://zenodo.org/record/58514{\#}.WLQb4zsrKXr


air quality, biodiversity loss, Climate Change, coastal eutrophication, European Union, livestock production, soil acidification


Livestock production systems currently occupy around28{%}of the land surface of the European Union (equivalent to65{%}of the agricultural land). Inconjunction with otherhumanactivities, livestock production systems affect water, air and soil quality, global climate and biodiversity, altering the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. Here,we quantify the contribution of European livestock production to these major impacts. For each environmental effect, the contribution of livestock is expressed as shares of the emitted compounds and land used, as compared to the whole agricultural sector. The results show that the livestock sector contributes significantly to agricultural environmental impacts. This contribution is78{%}for terrestrial biodiversity loss,80{%}for soil acidification and air pollution (ammoniaand nitrogen oxides emissions),81{%}for global warming, and73{%}for water pollution (bothNandP). The agriculture sector itself is one of the major contributors to these environmental impacts, ranging between12{%}for global warming and59{%}for Nwater quality impact. Significant progress in mitigating these environmental impacts in Europe will only be possible through a combination of technological measures reducing livestock emissions, improved food choices and reduced food waste of European citizens. Introduction