The sustainable intensification of forage-based agricultural systems: LivestockPlus
LivestockPlus is one of three strategic initiatives created under CIAT’s new strategy for the period 2014–2020.
CIAT and its partners formulated the LivestockPlus concept to demonstrate how improved forages, when properly managed, can lead to sustainable intensification of mixed crop–forage–livestock systems in the tropics, contributing to multiple social, economic, and environmental objectives. LivestockPlus attempts to minimize the trade-offs between these objectives through synergies between soils, plants, animals, people, and the environment.
We consider that increasing consumer demands for livestock products can and should be met by increasing productivity within the same region, particularly in the tropics. Although productivity could be increased using grain-based diets, we favor intensifying forage-based systems, based on goals of economic viability, environmental sustainability, and social equity, associated with eco-efficiency.
Sustainable intensification of tropical forage-based systems contributes to better human nutrition, increases farm incomes, raises soil carbon accumulation, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.