ORIGINAL ARTICLEMultifunctionality and diversity of livestock grazing systemsfor sustainable food systems throughout the world: Are therelearning opportunities for Europe?Alexandre Ickowicz1,2,3| Bernard Hubert1,4| Mélanie Blanchard1,2,5,6|Vincent Blanfort1,2,3| Jean-Daniel Cesaro1,2,7| Arona Diaw1,8|Jacques Lasseur1,2| Le Thi Thanh Huyen1,6|LiLi9|Rogerio Martins Mauricio1,10| Mauroni Cangussu10| Jean-Pierre Müller1,11,12|Mariana Quiroga Mendiola1,13| Juan Quiroga Roger13| Tomas Anibal Vera13|Tungalag Ulambayar1,14| Liz Wedderburn1,151Global Agenda for Sustainable LivestockRestoring value to grasslandnetwork, FAO,Rome, Italy2Selmet, Univ Montpellier, Cirad, INRAE,Institut Agro, Montpellier, France3Cirad, UMR Selmet, Montpellier, France4INRAE, Unité d'Ecodéveloppement, Avignon,France5Cirad, UMR Selmet, Hanoï, Vietnam6Nias, Hanoï, Vietnam7Cirad, UMR Selmet, ISRA, PPZS, Saint-Louis,Senegal8Laiterie du Berger, Dakar, Senegal9Department of Health and EnvironmentalSciences, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool Univ,Suzhou, China10Biotechnology Department, Univ Federal deSao Joao, S ̃ao Jo ̃ao, Brazil11Sens, Univ Montpellier, Cirad, Montpellier,France12Cirad, UMR Sens, Montpellier, France13INTA-Cipaf-Ipaf, Jujuy, Argentina14Zoological Society of London,Representative Office, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia15AgResearch Ltd., Hamilton, New ZealandCorrespondenceIckowicz Alexandre, UMR Selmet, Cirad,Montpellier, France.Email:alexandre.ickowicz@cirad.frAbstractThroughout the world, livestock grazing systems (LGS) include, and provide liveli-hoods for, many rural populations. These LGS are represented in a wide variety ofagroecological contexts and offer a huge variety of system organization. They con-tribute to sustainable food systems by providing multiple products including low-costedible proteins and energy, draft power, outputs (carbon and soil nutrient regulation,landscape and biodiversity maintenance), roles (local development support in harshenvironments, contribution to the circular economy) and benefits to populations (rev-enue, employment, and cultural assets). These multiple functions can be describedthrough a multifunctional conceptual model specified for LGS. Applied to cases inAfrica, Asia, Latin America and Europe, the framework enables the assessment ofthese systems in a holistic manner that includes four dimensions: production, social,environmental and local development. These dimensions and associated local indica-tors demonstrate the potential important contribution that LGS may deliver to sus-tainable food systems. Management of interactions and trade-offs between thesefunctions may be improved using such a model in a multi-stakeholder approach.Some of the functions and balance between them might have been overlooked in theconsideration of European food systems.KEYWORDSdiversity, livestock grazing systems, multifunctionality, sustainable food systemsAn earlier version of this article was a keynote presentation at the 29th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation hosted by France in 2022(www.europeangrassland.org/).Received: 10 June 2022 Revised: 14 September 2022 Accepted: 28 September 2022DOI: 10.1111/gfs.12588This is an open access article under the terms of theCreative Commons AttributionLicense, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium,provided the original work is properly cited.© 2022 The Authors.Grass and Forage Sciencepublished by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.282Grass Forage Sci.2022;77:282294.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/gfs
1|INTRODUCTIONLivestock grazing systems (LGS) are systems in which 90% of rumi-nant diets are composed of forage grazed from natural or cultivatedgrasslands, according to FAO and ILRI (Robinson et al.,2011). LGSplay a significant role in livestock production accounting for 39% ofglobal domestic ruminant numbers, and 30% of animal derived pro-teins (Mottet et al.,2017; Mottet et al.,2018). One and a half billionhectares of land usually unsuitable for cropping due to poor rainfall,soil fertility and topography are utilized by LGS as is 54% of the totalterrestrial landscape. Much of this (28 M km2) is in desert or marginalxeric shrublands areas (ILRI et al.,2021). Many of these systems aredependent on both the mobility of livestock and people (socio-ecological systems) as they take advantage of the spatial and temporalvariability in forage production throughout the year. These mobilesystems rely on natural resources and processes, for exmaple, existingforage, water source, manure from livestock and associated highhuman capital input. The large land footprint of LGS and its associatedmanagement of livestock result in impacts on the ecosystem dynamicsthat result in a diversity of functions for both the environment andhuman well-being at different scales and dimensions (production, eco-nomics, cultural, environmental, local development etc.). These func-tions are not always considered when assessing the impact of LGSalthough attempts to take a whole-of-system approach have beenundertaken using theEcosystem Servicesframework focused at theecosystem scale (Huang et al.,2015). The prolific debates thatoccurred during the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit have led to sev-eral so-calledCoalitionsthat have to be implemented by states andcivil society, many of them dealing with livestock issues. They haveconfirmed that Food Systems are now a global issue and that industri-alized countries cannot represent a model for the rest of the worldbut they also have a lot to learn from the Global South and its diver-sity of farming systems, particularly about herbivore breeding. In thispaper we consider LGS, tackled here in a larger definition than that ofthe FAO, within the context of a Multifunctionality framework thatmakes transparent the many functions derived from LGS and we doc-ument the results of its application through global case studies. Thehypothesis is that the multiple functions of LGS, demonstrated in adiversity of global contexts, will inform the description and identifypathways for sustainable food system development potentially over-looked in past agriculture simplification within Europe.2|WHY APPLY MULTIFUNCTIONALITYCONCEPT TO LIVESTOCK GRAZINGSYSTEMS?Current methods of assessing the different functions of LGS oversim-plify and underestimate the impact and are limited in their abilities toconsider simultaneously interwoven dimensions and the ways theyinteract. We hypothesise that the use of the concept ofMultifunc-tionality of agriculturewhich was developed during the 1990s(Caron et al.,2008; Hervieu,2002a,2002b; Huang et al.,2015;UNCED,1992) is a better way for developing a more exhaustiveassessment of the different functions of LGS and allowing to expresstrade-off between functions reinforcing abilities for stakeholdersinvolved to envision desirable futures for the activity. Through thisMultifunctionality (MF) methodological approach, we seek to showthat LGS have an important role to play in Sustainable Food Systemdevelopment worldwide. The MF considers the diversity of functionsneeded to assess impacts of agriculture at local, regional and interna-tional levels including production outputs, economic (employment,infrastructure and services development, financial fluxes, etc.),environmental (landscape management, GHG emissions, soil fertility,biodiversity and nutrient fluxes, etc.). Due to their large terrestrialfootprint from local to global scale, LGS have significant impacts onecosystem dynamics (biodiversity, nutrient cycling, land degradation,etc.) and climate change (GHG emissions, carbon sequestration)(Steinfeld et al.,2006). LGS also support massive amounts of socialgroups and populations throughout the world (ILRI et al.,2021),providing revenues, livelihoods, and social and cultural assets. In thisregard, the MF framework has been adopted by Action Network2Restoring value to grasslandwithin the Global Agenda for Sustain-able Livestock (GASL), a global multi-stakeholder platform (www.livestockdialogue.org), as the relevant approach to use with multiplestakeholders to describe, evaluate, discuss and promote the differentfunctions provided by LGS. This MF framework fits well with theglobal framework on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proposedby the UN 2030 programme, as the multiple functions of LGS relateto at least 8 SDGs out of the existing 17 (1: no poverty, 2: zero hun-ger, 5: gender equality, 6: clean water, 8: decent work and economicgrowth, 12: responsible consumption and production, 13: climateaction, 15: life on land). Finally, considering the contribution of LGS tothe emergent concern of sustainable food systems (SFS) debated dur-ing the September 2021 UN conference, the MF framework will allowthe identification of crucial functions that might inform the main prin-ciples supporting SFS: environmentally friendly, easy access, availabil-ity, food security, food quality.3|BUILDING A MULTIFUNCTIONALITYCONCEPTUAL MODEL TO SUPPORT LOCALLIVESTOCK GRAZING SYSTEMS DYNAMICSA multi-stakeholder participative modelling approach was developedto ensure a broad diversity of contexts and world views informed acommon framework applicable to the diversity of LGS global contexts.Participants included researchers from a range of disciplines related toLGS from seven different countries (Argentina, Brazil, France,Mongolia, Senegal, New-Zealand, Vietnam), and agribusiness, farmersand policy makers. An iterative approach was applied to ensure therobustness of the framework consisting of: (i) a literature review thatcreated the base platform for conceptual model construction at thefirst workshop (May 2016); (ii) this was followed by interviews with10 French farmers, and later with local stakeholders in sites of five ofthe different countries (iii); two further workshops (July 2016,ICKOWICZET AL.283