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Technology Innovation for Sustainable Development (2011-present)

Diversifying and Integrating Agricultural Practices in Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States for Climate Smart Agriculture and Sustainable Development

Rachael Garrett and Meredith Niles, SSP Post-doctoral Research Fellows

2014 Collaborative Research Grant of $15,500

Project website

One of the core challenges of sustainable development is how countries can simultaneously promote rural livelihoods, increase agricultural output to meet growing food demand, and conserve natural resources. Integrated crop livestock systems have the capacity to meet this challenge by better recycling nutrients from crop and animal wastes within the farm system, while still producing high quantities of food. This research aims to assess the social costs and benefits of integrated crop livestock systems (ICLS) compared with specialized systems, as well as challenges and opportunities (including those presented by climate change) to adoption across three diverse regions: Brazil, the United States, and New Zealand. These three countries were selected for comparative analysis due to their significant agricultural production and varying climates and socio-economic systems. To understand the complex linkages between national agricultural policy, regional socio-economic conditions, and ICLS adoption in a changing climate we utilize a variety of research designs and methods, including both comparative analysis at the national level, statistical analysis and process models at the regional level, and local case studies. Through the combination of all of these methods we aim to achieve a systems level understanding of the rules, incentives, and knowledge services that will be necessary to promote transitions to integrated systems in the US, Brazil, and New Zealand. We strive to create a multi-faceted approach to understanding ICLS in these regions to make this work relevant both academically and for practitioners.

Workshop on Integrative Social and Ecological Modeling of Crop and Livestock Systems
April 9-10, 2015, University of California at Davis