International Advanced Course “Environmental Impact Assessment of Livestock Systems”

After two successful editions, we are ready for a new group of enthusiastic and motivated students. This third edition of the course ‘Environmental impact assessment of livestock systems’ will be held from 11 to 15 February 2019 at Wageningen University (NL)

Background and aim

Feeding nine billion people in 2050 within the carrying capacity of the earth is perhaps the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced. An important aspect of the debate about feeding the world is the role of livestock production. The current livestock sector already poses severe pressure on the environment and competes increasingly for scarce resources, such as land, water, fossil energy and phosphorus. The demand for livestock products is expected to increase significantly. Without major changes, therefore, the above described environmental concerns about the livestock sector will increase only further. So we are facing an urgent question: how to reduce the environmental impact of production of animal-source food? To gain insight into future options and limitations of reducing the environmental impact of livestock production, we need sound environmental impact assessment tools.

The aim of this course is to provide participants with advanced knowledge, both theoretical and practical, on the environmental impact assessment of livestock systems. We will discuss the latest insights of environmental impact assessment tools. Key issues addressed are: how to incorporate carbon sequestration in an assessment? How to perform an uncertainty or sensitivity analysis? How to assess land use efficiency of livestock systems? Which water footprint method is appropriate? Which metrics should we use to determine emissions of greenhouse gases? What’s the difference between a nutrient flow analysis and a life cycle assessment (LCA)? What’s the difference between an attributional or consequential LCA, and when to apply what method? How to assess the impact of livestock production on biodiversity?

Target group

This PhD course will be of great interest to PhD students and professionals exploring environmental consequences of (innovations in) livestock production systems. We do expect that you have basic knowledge about the relation between livestock and the environment, nutrient flow analysis and life cycle assessment. Participants are challenged to actively contribute to discussions, and within the programme three sessions are devoted to 5-min pitches. In these 5-min pitches you can address your methodological challenge(s) so we can incorporate these challenges in our discussions.