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Future Livestock Systems & Resilience

Future Livestock Systems research explores the transition from more vulnerable livestock systems, which struggle to address increased demands for food, to systems that foster equitable wealth, food security, and nutrition. Its modeling and analytical tools are useful to evaluate technologies and inform management and policy scenarios into the future. With information based on analysis of complex local to regional choices, policymakers and other stakeholders can seek solutions to meet the needs of dynamic populations and environmental conditions.

USAID defines resilience as “the ability of people, households, communities, countries, and systems to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.” One way to promote resilience is through research that anticipates future shocks and stresses. By considering these two strands jointly, we seek to promote their integration across our research portfolio.

Research from our Phase I work, including scenario analysis, systems modeling tools at the household, value-chain, trade network, and landscape level, and livestock trade network analyses will be expanded to address the following areas:

  • Future of pastoralism: Pastoralist groups may fail to prosper in the future because of climate issues, conflict, and socio-economic drivers. They also face serious security and migration issues. Phase II research can identify elements of pastoralism that are most important for the resilience of these communities.
  • Resilient forage systems: Research will expand our work conducted with the Small-Scale Irrigation Innovation Lab in Ethiopia, which generated forage production maps that link water availability with ideal resilient high yielding forage types. Country-scale and sub-national scale analyses could aid policymakers in identifying and supporting areas of resilient and sustainable forage systems. Modeling based research in Phase II can examine which socio-economic drivers and networks should be targeted in focal countries to increase domestic feed production.
  • Resilient value chains and networks: Our previous work on the Sahelian livestock trade network can be expanded to other areas in order to assess the potential resilience and robustness of the animal-source food trade. These studies can include how market networks and value chains are affected by shocks, including conflicts and insecurity, disease transmission, increasing urban population, corruption, and economic growth. Additional research can look into how livestock markets and trade dynamics can be organized to increase the resilience of poor livestock keepers and food consumers and how national borders and trade policies may affect access to food.

Recorded Guide Resources

These four videos provide basic background on how modeling and scenarios can be used in livestock systems research.  

  1. Introduction to modeling
  2. Introduction to scenarios
  3. How to develop scenarios
  4. How can models and scenarios work together?

Learn how to utilize the G-Range global rangeland model (Boone et al., 2018) to generate monthly forage, woody vegetation, and livestock production grids. Highlight critical production areas, vulnerable regions, and adaptive alternatives.


Journal Articles


The Future Livestock Systems  & Resilience team is led by Dr. Gregory Kiker.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.