Livestock production in peri-urban areas constitutes an important sub-sector of the agricultural production system in China, and contributes to environmental degradation and local air borne pollution contributing to smog. As a result, local policies are being implemented to safeguard the environment. However, there has been little attempt to quantify the impact of environmental policies on livestock production structure, spatial distribution and their related greenhouse gases (GHGs) and ammonia (NH3) emissions. Here, we calculated the inventories of GHGs and NH3 emissions for 2010 and 2014 for peri-urban livestock production in Beijing, using reliable spatially explicit data, which was collected from 1748 industrial farms in 2010 and 2351 industrial farms in 2014, including pig, dairy, beef cattle, poultry and sheep farms. Our estimates indicated that total industrial livestock production increased by 17% between 2010 and 2014, even under the more strict environmental protection polices, with farm size decreasing by between 7% and 47%. Up to 50% of the industrial livestock farms have remained in operation, with the rest closing down or being moved to other regions. Following this trend, total GHGs emission decreased from 5.0 to 4.5 Tg CO2-eq between 2010 and 2014. Most of the GHGs emission reduction was due to the lowering of energy related carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in 2014. Total NH3 emission decreased from 102 to 96 Gg between 2010 and 2014, mainly due to more stringent environmental regulations for new and extended farms (increased in farm size), e.g. Discharge standard for pollutants for livestock and poultry breeding. Our study identified that GHGs and NH3 emission hotspots were concentrated in suburban areas (around the city centre and with less agricultural resource and population density) in 2010. However, between 2010 and 2014 these hotspots moved to the exurban plain and mountain area following the closure or sub-division of intensive farms in suburban regions and construction of new and small farms in exurban areas (around the suburban and with more agricultural resource and lower population density). Scenario analysis suggests that total GHGs emission can be reduced by up to 1.0 Tg CO2-eq (23% of total livestock sector emissions) in Beijing, using a combination of modifications of farm type, livestock diet and manure management. The integrated scenario can reduce CH4, N2O and NH3 emissions by 27%, 9% and 35%, compared to the reference scenario. Within this short period of time (5 years), policies have had direct impacts on peri-urban livestock production in Beijing, resulting in marked changes in the structure of different livestock sectors, as well as the GHGs and NH3 emission inventories and their spatial distribution. Our analysis clearly shows that the success of these (and future) polices relies on optimizing spatial management of new livestock production systems. Policy and farmer guidance should focus on optimizing livestock diet and on-farm manure management, industrial production systems and the pig and poultry sectors in peri-urban regions.
- Climate change
- Manure management
- Mitigation option
- Temporal and spatial variation
- Urban livestock production