Setting the Global Scene

The world’s pasture and grazing lands have for the most part remained stationary for the past 
three centuries.

However, over the past three decades changes to grazing lands have been noted in several key global regions as follows :

  • increases in the less densely populated regions of tropical Africa and Central/South America, often at the expense of forests that are being cleared to make way for cattle (and other ruminants) pastures
  • declines of approximately 20% in Europe, South-East Asia and North America where increasing population has forced a switch from grazing to more intensive cropping and cultivation systems, including the feeding of livestock with grains such as corn
  • increases in Asia and the Middle East, (notably China), increasing pasture lands at the expense of cropping environments

So, the struggle between these two vast and important agricultural systems intensifies and places continuing pressure on the animal-carrying pasture lands.

The map of the world opposite shows the proportion of land use for pasture and grazing by percentage of each country’s land area used permanently for forage.
the struggle between crops and
animals places pressure on pasture
and grasslands