Intensive, monotonous and specialized pastoral livestock production systems (productivist systems) are under significant pressure to reduce environmental impacts, increase biodiversity, animal welfare, and resilience. Efficiency/substitution strategies have been advanced to improve them, focusing on adjusting system components to reduce externalities of regulatory concern. They have received much research attention, policy and farmer support. However, many argue environmental impacts are not sufficiently reduced, and biodiversity, animal welfare and resilience remain unchanged. Biodiversity farming strategies have also been promoted, based largely on their application to less productive land. They are more spatially and/or temporally complex, less specialized, and promise to reduce multiple environmental impacts, improve support for biodiversity, animal welfare and increase resilience. However, few systems have been designed for highly productive land, there is insufficient amount of supporting research, and less policy support and awareness among farmers. Therefore, there is a high degree of uncertainty about their supporting farming practices, ecosystem services, and viability. Through multi-disciplinary research teams, and holistic and expanded spatial and temporal perspectives, Universities can play a key role in exploring, ex ante evaluating, and demonstrating new innovative system alternatives, that reduce this uncertainty and facilitate the transition to healthier viable animal production systems.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 78, Lincoln, 132-136, 2018
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