How global trends in population, energy use, water use, and climate impact on rangeland and rangeland users. Implications for policy development, land use and management, conservation and production

How global trends in population, energy use, water use, and climate impact on rangeland and rangeland users. Implications for policy development, land use and management, conservation and production Conference Paper

17th Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference

  • Author(s): Jerry L. Holechek
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Australian Rangeland Society

Abstract: Increasing world human population, declining reserves of cheaply extracted fossil fuels, fresh water scarcity, and climatic instability will put tremendous pressure on world rangelands as the 21st century progresses. It is expected the world human population will increase by 40 percent by 2050 but fossil fuel and fresh water reserves will be drastically reduced. Avoiding food shortages and famine could be a major world challenge within the next 10 years. Under these conditions, major changes in basic world policies relating to economic growth and natural resource use seem essential. Human population stabilization; clean, renewable energy development; enhanced water yields and quality; increased livestock production; and changed land use policies that minimize agricultural land losses to development and fragmentation will all be needed to avoid declining living conditions at the global level. The health and productivity of rangelands will need to receive much more emphasis as they are the primary sources of vital ecosystem services and products essential to human life. Changes in tax policies by developed, affluent countries, such as the United States, Australia, and Canada, are needed that emphasize saving and conservation as opposed to excessive material consumption and land development. Extreme debt levels and chronic trade deficits by the United States and European Union countries must be moderated to avoid a devastating collision of debt, natural resource depletion, and environmental degradation. Over the next 10 years, range livestock producers will benefit from a major increase in demand and prices for meat. Rapidly increasing demand for meat in China is driving this trend. However, ranchers are also likely to encounter greater climatic, financial, biological, and political risks. Higher interest rates, higher production costs, and higher annual variability in forage resources are major challenges that will confront ranchers in the years ahead. Under these conditions, a low risk approach to range livestock production is recommended that involves conservative stocking, use of highly adapted livestock, and application of range livestock behavioural knowledge to efficiently use forage resources.

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Jerry L. Holechek, 2012, How global trends in population, energy use, water use, and climate impact on rangeland and rangeland users. Implications for policy development, land use and management, conservation and production, Conference Paper, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3663.

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