Colorado State University has received a $15 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development to look at the impact of climate change on livestock around the globe, particularly in developing countries.
CSU will manage the grant and, over the next five years, develop partnerships for multiple research projects in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and central Asia. The grant was awarded to CSU’s Animal Population Health Institute and the University’s Institute for Livestock and the Environment.
The grant funds CSU oversight of the project and CSU research in developing countries. The research focuses on ways to help developing countries manage livestock under changing climate conditions. In these developing countries, a large portion of the population depends upon livestock for a significant part of their income. Ultimately, the goal is not just to study these processes but to help livestock producers adapt to climate change and improve their livelihoods.
“The risks to livestock and developing livestock industries in these countries as a result of climate change encompass a broad range of issues and challenges,” said Dr. Mo Salman, Principal Investigator and Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “As just one example, we know that climate change may drive changes in precipitation and temperature in many regions which are already arid or semi-arid. That leads to reduced crop yields and pasture productivity for livestock, which makes it difficult for farmers and herders to support their livelihood. Because they can no longer survive off the land, those farmers and herders may migrate to urban areas. This changes the social fabric of communities, alters a people’s cultural identity, and potentially increases political instability.”
Because climate change impacts different regions of the globe in different ways, the grant helps scientists from multiple disciplines start to identify the scope, location and nature of these impacts so that planning for potential adaptations can begin. The grant focuses on learning more about the risks and opportunities of climate change on livelihoods in the areas under study, the social and environmental impacts, how infrastructure can be strengthened to better support food safety and animal health, and how livestock herders can manage their businesses to optimize production while protecting the environment and health of animals.The program is led by a CSU management team of Dr. Salman, Dr. Shana Gillette, Co-Principal Investigator; Jessica Davis, Program Director; and Dana Hoag, Associate Director. In addition to the management team from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the College of Agricultural Sciences, other CSU collaborators include the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and the Warner College of Natural Resources.