Ecology

Domestication Duality

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Science  17 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6168, pp. 230
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6168.230-a
CREDIT: © FLPA/ALAMY

Livestock occupy a third of Earth's ice-free surface, use a third of its freshwater supplies, and contribute to pollution, climate warming, and obesity. Yet they also feed and provide income for billions of people, supplying critical micronutrients and 40% of global agricultural gross domestic product. But Herrero et al. contend that we lack microdata that would allow us to assess and mitigate these challenges at meaningful scales, and they have produced a spatially disaggregated data set on biomass use, productivity, emissions, and resource-use efficiencies covering ruminants, pigs, and poultry in 28 regions producing milk, meat, and eggs. These data reveal the significance of grasslands as a global resource, the effect of feed efficiency on productivity and greenhouse gas emissions, and the importance of mixed crop-livestock systems.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 20888 (2013).

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