Focusing on livestock improvement strategies that enhance adaptive and coping mechanisms in the context of climate change in southern Africa
Keywords:Livestock improvement, Adaptive, Coping, Climate change, Southern Africa
Climate change and variability is among the first and crucial limiting factors of sustainable livestock production in southern Africa. This is on the background that southern Africa is one of the most vulnerable sub regions to climate change and climate variability, a situation aggravated by the interaction of the multiple stresses that occur at various levels and the agricultural systems’ low adaptive capacity. However, it is undisputable that many poor resource livestock farmers who are the majority in southern Africa are wholly or partially dependent on livestock for their livelihood, and livestock keepers will need to adapt to climate change for their survival. This development has spurred the need for creation and implementation of livestock improvement strategies aimed at overcoming the negative effect of climate change on livestock production. In addition, climate change induced environmental stressors will further accentuate heat, disease and water stress-related problems. The review explores some of the likely impacts of climate change on livestock production and discusses measures to react to the expected changes in climate through livestock improvement. This is followed by a discussion of how climate change may alter the approach to genetic improvement. The report then analyses the specific issue of selection and crossbreeding systems and their implication for livestock improvement. It is suggested that the focus on livestock improvement strategies will need to take into account the alleviation of heat and water stress in the context of semi arid livestock production systems. Livestock improvement based on livestock adaptive strategies and coping mechanisms in the context of climate change are critical in this context. This is a result of the understanding that livestock productivity decline has become a problematic issue in southern Africa, particularly due to the long term effect of climate change. Climate change has risen to become one of the most challenging issues confronting the sub region through decline of livestock productivity. In order to lessen the extent of livestock vulnerability to climate change livestock improvement strategies should take into cognizance of enhancing adaptive and coping mechanisms in livestock production. In recognition of this threat to the sub region, this paper further discusses some of the pertinent issues which proffers possible solutions aimed at aiding appropriate livestock improvement in the context of climate change. Accordingly, developing new and innovative livestock improvement strategies to understand the relationship between climate change induced stressful environment and animal productivity, while highlighting livestock improvement strategies and livestock traits to target. Promoting local animal genetic resources will be part of the mitigation strategy.
Berman, A., 2011. Are adaptations present to support dairy cattle productivity in warm climates? J Dairy Sci.
Boettcher, P., Hoffmann, I., Baumung, R., Drucker, A., McManus, C., Berg, P., Stella, A., Nilsen, L.B., Moran, D.,
Narves, M., Thompson, M.C., 2015. Genetic resources and genomics for adaptation of livestock to climate
change. Frontiers in Genetics. 5(461):1-3.
Cundiff, L.V., Gregory, K.E. & Koch, R.M., 1991. Breed effects and heterosis in advanced generations of composite
populations for preweaning traits of beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 69, 947-960.
Devendra, C., 1990. Comparative aspects of digestive physiology and nutrition in goats and sheep. Rum. Nutrit.
Physiol. Asia. 45-60.
Ehui, S., S. Benin, T. Williams and Meijer S., 2002. Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa to 2020, Socio-economics
and Policy Research Working Paper 49, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi.
FAOSTAT (1994, 1999, 2000). FAOSTAT data. Rome.
Gregory, K.E., Cundiff, L.V. & Koch, R.M., 1992. Effects of breed and retained heterosis on milk yield and 200-day
weight in advanced generations of composite populations of beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 70, 2366-2372.
Hahn, G.L., Klinedinst, P.L., Wilhite, D.A. 1992. Climate change impacts on livestock production and management.
American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI, p 16.
Haves, B.J., Lewin, H.A., Goddard, M.E. 2012. The future of livestock breeding: genomic selection for efficiency,
reduced emissions intensity and adaptation. Trends Genetics. 29:206-214.
Hounghton, J.T., Ding, Y., Griggs, D.J., Noguer, M., Linden, P.J., Dai, X., Maskell, K., Johnson, C.A., 2001. Climate
change, The scientific basis. Contribution of working group I to the third assessment report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambr. Univ. Press, New York, USA.
IPCC, 2007b . Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change to the Third Assessment Report of IPCC.
Katongole, J.B.D., Sebolai, B., Madimabe, M.J., 1996. Morphological characterization of the Tswana goat. Paper
presented at the 3rd Biennial Conference of the African Small Ruminant Research Network, UICC, Kampala,
Uganda., 5-9 December 5-9, 1994. 43-46.
Koch, R.M., Gregory, K.E., Crouse, J.D., Laster, D.B., Cundiff, L.V. & Smith, G.M., 1978. Heterosis and Breed
Maternal and Transmitted Effects in Beef Cattle IV. Carcass Traits of Steers. J. Anim. Sci. 47, 1063-1079.
Lawrence, A.B., Wall, E. 2014. Selection for ‘environmental fit’ from existing domesticated species. Rev. Sci. Tech.
Off. Int. Epiz., 33 (1):171-179.
LID (1999), Livestock in Poverty-Focused Development. Livestock in Development.
Ngigi, S.N., 2009. Climate Change Adaptation Strategies, Water Resources Management Options for Smallholder
Farming Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The MDG Centre for East and Southern Africa. Earth Inst. Columb.
Univ., New York.
Ogle, B. (1996), Livestock Systems in Semi-Arid Sub-Saharan Africa, Integrated Farming in Human Development –
Renaudeau, D., Collin, A., Yahav, S., de Basilio, V., Gourdine, J.L., Collier, R.J. 2012. Adaptation to hot climate and
strategies to alleviate heat stress in livestock production. Animal 6:707-728.
Rotter, R., Geijn, S.C., 1999. Climate change effects on plant growth, crop yield and livestock. Climatic Change. J.
Veter. Adv., 2,407-412.
SADC RISDP. 2006. www.sadc.int/attachment/download/file/74; accessed 26 July 2010.
Scholtz, M.M., Maiwashe, A., Neser, F.W.C., Theunissen, A., Olivier, W.J., Mokolobate, M.C. & Hendriks, J., 2013.
Livestock breeding for sustainability to mitigate global warming, with the emphasis on developing countries.
S. Afr. J. Anim. Sci. 43, 269-281.
Silanikove, N., 1992. Effects of water scarcity and hot environment on appetite and digestion in ruminants. A
review. Livest. Product. Sci., 30,175- 194.
Thornton P K, van de Steeg J, Notenbaert A and Herrero M, 2009. ‘The impacts of climate change on livestock and
livestock systems in developing countries: A review of what we know and what we need to know.’
Agricultural Systems, 101: 113–127.
Wall, E., Simm, G. & Moran, D., 2010. Developing breeding schemes to assist mitigation of greenhouse gas
emissions. Animal 4, 366-376.
Williams, J.L., Aguilar, I., Rekaya, R.R. & Bertrand, J.K., 2010. Estimation of breed and heterosis effects for growth
and carcass trait in cattle using published crossbreeding studies. J. Anim. Sci. 88, 460-466.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2015 Never Assan
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.